This book is a plea for an ecological consciousness in regard to the forest. India has its share of tree rustlers, in spite of strict laws, and much irreparable damage is done by irresponsible felling. This story is well written for younger people with good illustrations. It is the story of a girl's fight to save the trees of her village from tree-cutters, and illustrates her and the village's feeling of reverence for the trees upon which they depended. It does represent one aspect of Indian culture (unfortunately, the tree cutters are another aspect) and can well be used as an introduction to village life; it is also interesting from the point of view of the exotic. My own love of the exotic has led me to many places around the world, and I feel that this sense of wonder about the world is a valuable characteristic and very much worth nourishing; this kind of book can encourage dreams.
The incident described, although fictional, is very reminiscent of an actual event that took place in the State of Rajasthan. The Maharaja needed wood for a building project, and sent his men to cut in a forest near a village. The people, who venerated their trees as the suppliers of many things necessary for their lives, literally hugged the trees. Several hundred villagers were killed before the Maharaja's men stopped. The trees, or their descendants, still stand as a testimony to the interdependence of the people and their environment. The villagersare also well-known for providing a refuge for both a kind of antelope and for birds, and for their reluctance to kill anything. Note: the paper and binding are excellent quality. My only complaint, and it is a minor one, is that the tale should have taken place in the desert, where trees are both more valued and more endangered.