Twelve-year-old Tiki’s life changes when Chandi, his pet pariah dog, falls seriously ill after eating a chewing gum thrown on the beach.
Soon, an encounter with a tiger cub on his ancestral farm at Karjat — rather than a forest — makes Tiki realise that the striped animal is in danger of extinction.
Accompanied by a monkey, Tiki’s transition from a regular Mumbai schoolboy to a campaigner to save the environment is penned by writer Dheera Kitchlu in her latest book ‘Ouch! Cried Planet Earth’.
Aimed at sensitising children, the book will be released by the Bombay Natural History Society on December 3.
Kitchlu, a children’s author, started writing in 1992 and this is her eighth book. Having worked on the book since 2004, Kitchlu describes the work as her response to the threat to the environment.
“I also believe in children being made aware without being preached to or through lectures in school,” she added.
The book is more than a fun non-fiction read. It is interactive in the sense that it provides cues to get curious children to log on to the Internet and read about various issues related to the environment – just as Tiki does.
For instance, a mention of a the vulture on the brink of extinction will get children to read more on the subject. Tiki also actively engages in advocating the message of keeping the beaches clean.
“The streets in Mumbai are such a shame with such unhygienic conditions. Children need to be made aware so they don’t inherit the earth as a garbage bin. And they in turn pass on the message to their parents who then help in a big way,” said Kitchlu.
The book deals with various aspects of a child’s life – from being bullied in school to gender issues where his father wants Tiki to be a ‘man’ and not a sissy learning to play the tabla.
Published by Serene Woods, ‘Ouch! Cried Planet Earth’ is priced at Rs 199 and will be released by the Bombay Natural History Society on Thursday.