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Shades of nature

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ANJANA RAJAN

A series of books to keep you entertained and informed.

Most of us have heard these lines from a poem by Joyce Kilmer: “I think that I shall never see/ A poem lovely as a tree”, and most of us would agree with the poet. But when it comes to knowing all about trees — what kind of soil they grow in, whether they have medicinal uses, which parts of the country they are found in and other such facts — we often lag behind.

If you do want to learn about the wonders of nature without being weighed down by a heavy encyclopaedic volume or bored by a barrage of facts, a new series of books may be just the thing to look out for. This series, called the WWF-OUP Nature Guides, is brought out by Oxford University Press in association with the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF). “Trees of India”, written by Pippa Mukherjee and illustrated by Poonam Desai carries easy-to-read descriptions of more than 40 trees. Neatly laid out with short sections on topics like whether the tree is native to India, or where it came from, its fruits, flowers and uses, the book also contains interesting little stories related to trees. Like the folktale of the man who was going on a journey and was advised by his wife to sleep under a tamarind tree on the way to his destination, and under a neem tree on his way home.

But there are many uses for knowledge and many avenues too. The series also features “Butterflies of India” by Thomas Gay, Isaac David Kehimkar and Jagdish Punetha, with photographs by Isaac David Kehimkar. Then there are two books by a well known marine biologist, B.F. Chhapgar. These are “Seashore Life of India” and “Fishes of India”.

At Rs.145 each, these books with pretty covers and simple, accurate illustrations inside, are steal.


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