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Aani and the Tree Huggers


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Gr 2-5-When Aani hears strange rumblings ``as angry as a tiger's growl'' in the distance, she alerts the village women to the invasion of men from the city who intend to cut down trees in the nearby forest. The women drop their chores to view the destruction of the trees that provide so many necessities-wood for cooking and building, shelter for animals, fruits and berries to eat. Kalawati, a village elder, tries to stop them, but is rudely ignored by these men who have official, written orders to proceed. But when Aani's favorite tree is threatened, she sets a bold example of passive resistance by hugging it. Atkins has developed a highly sympathetic character in Aani, as well as a clear picture of life in a rural Indian community. Pinto's artwork corresponds by giving readers insight into the colors and scenes of the country. Endnotes explain both the story's basis on a true incident and the gouache illustrations based on 17th-century styles of Indian miniature painting prior to Western influence. An exemplary first picture book for both author and illustrator, this collaboration will appeal to a wide audience of children, as well as prove useful in units on India or international environmental efforts.-Tana Elias, Meadowridge Branch Library, Madison, WI

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