“The Globetrotters” by Arefa Tehsin, with illustrations by Nafisa Nandini Crishna is a children’s fiction book published by Penguin Random House India, under the imprint Puffin Books.
The cover of the book appeals to the eye. And is also a foreshadow to the plot.
The plot of “The Globetrotters” goes like this:
Once upon a time, there is a naughty rascal of a boy, Adi. He is more popularly known as Hudhud, bully of Grade 7 of the school. His friend Sahil, nicknamed Kilkila, is the faithful sidekick and partner in brainstorming the most cruelest of tricks. Be it placing uncooked pasta under the cushion of the teacher’s chair or teasing a chubby 5th grader, they have done it all.
But, their happy-go-lucky attitude towards making kids in their school feel scared is all set to change. Thanks to the strange new History teacher, who decides to teach Hudhud a lesson.
How? She curses him to roam the vast earth in the form a blue whale calf, a caterpillar, a caribou, a leatherback turtle and an Arctic tern in search of an answer to a question she sets before him. And while on his adventure, he may or may not have Kilkila by his side. He will only come back to his human form when he finds the answer to the question. Plot twist? He ends up forgetting the question as he shape-shifts from a human to a wildlife creature.
This book follows Hudhud on a surreal trip through the lush green vegetation around the earth and the blue blue sea. Will he find the answer to the question, and will he ever learn his lesson and become a true boy again?
What I liked about this book is the brilliant way the author has described the various wildlife creatures. The prose is not restricted to the creatures I mentioned above. There are also mentions to other creatures, who Hudhud comes across and interacts with him on his travels. An illustrative list: pilot fish, Atlantic salmon, puffin and seals. The author shares scientific facts about these animals in a very interactive way: through the dialogues of the characters themselves. This way of sharing information about wildlife creatures would engage children in a way better than an encyclopedia. Of course, the coloured images of an encyclopedia are missing. However, there are black and white illustrations of scenes depicted in the book, though.
The author has also shared environmental lessons about practices like whaling, mistaking plastic bags as jellyfish, etc. This will lead to a contextual awareness about such issues and also increase a child’s curiosity about such topics.
More importantly, there are various life lessons in this book regarding: how to identify the true nature and intent of a person, how to trust the right person, how to be competitive yet play fair, how to be a team player, how to look at things from another person’s perspective, how to overcome your fears.
A tip for reading this book: Your child could read one chapter a day of this book and then discuss it with you. Or if you read books to your child, you could hold a discussion while reading the book. I would also recommend keeping Google Images at the ready. Another fun idea I can come up with at the top of my head is: making a scrapbook of Wildlife Creatures.
I give this book a 4/5 stars and recommend this book to children of the ages 9-12. I am hosting a giveaway of this book on Instagram. Kindly click this link, if you wish to participate: Giveaway of The Globetrotters by Arefa Tehsin. (Giveaway is closed)
Thank you Penguin India for sending me a review copy of “The Globetrotters” by Arefa Tehsin.