“Dalal throws in snippets like an irritated geography teacher who catches Mitalee drawing squirrels in his class and who feels his hard work has been insulted.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
Another of Deepak Dalal’s Feather Tales, this book tells the story of the disappearance of a rare white-headed squirrel named Shikar. The birds in the garden where Shikar lived are plunged into despair – and it is a garden packed with all kinds of birds like bulbuls, robins, black drongos, yellow ioras, sunbirds and more.
Shikar was last seen in the company of a paradise flycatcher so all the birds decide to track down the flycatcher in an attempt to find the missing squirrel. So does Shikar’s human friend Mitalee, helped by her classmates Maitreya and Alisha. The story becomes a kind of shikar for Shikar.
There are all kinds of reasons why the squirrel might have vanished including the nasty Chintu and Arjun next door, who might or might not be involved in a pet trade – Dalal’s favourite bugbear. The quest of the birds and Mitalee and her friends fit together. Dalal throws in snippets like an irritated geography teacher who catches Mitalee drawing squirrels in his class and who feels his hard work has been insulted.
Dalal has lots of gardens and rare species in his work and makes his characters animal loving children. The book will certainly teach children not as enlightened as Mitalee a great deal about the natural world that they ignore because of lessons.
Added 17th August 2018