Book Review: Tales from the Wild by Dr. Raza H. Tehsin and Arefa Tehsin

Tales from the Wild is a children’s book full of fascinating animal adventures, written by award-winning Naturalist and Wildlife expert Dr. Raza H. Tehsin along with his daughter Arefa Tehsin. The short stories are reminiscent of the Panchatantra genre with a similar allure to young ones and the useful addition of factual information and snippets of interesting data about various species.

Each story is more than just a sequence of actions. It is a treasure of knowledge, gleaned from years of research, and presented in a fun way along with illustrations for children to absorb easily. From what makes a firefly glow to why bears and leopards avoid each other, the stories intertwine fact and mythology in an enticing manner. Although generously interspersed with humour and easy to read, the stories still retain an element of poignancy.

Watch the video trailer of this book:

A message runs through many of the stories, repeated at the end for easy recall. It could be asking children to be thoughtful, aware of their environment, brave, curious, appreciative of the delicate balance in nature and wildlife conservation.

We caught up with Arefa Tehsin, co-author of the book, to answer a few questions for us:

TBI: Can you give us your background and what led to this book?

Arefa: Playing with snakes, exploring jungle caves or treading alone in the jungles at night has always delighted me as much as penning down words. Being the daughter of Naturalist Raza H. Tehsin, fondly known as the Vasco de Gama of Mewar jungles, and granddaughter of T. H. Tehsin, one of the earliest big game hunters turned conservationists of India, I grew with a deep love for the forests. My family always encouraged me to write since my school days. My father’s idea, which he has had for quite a few years, of educating and bringing children close to Nature through stories, led me to write this book with him.

TBI: The book has very interesting characters. Any particular reasons for choosing these over others?

Arefa: I think the characters chose us. They chose to come to our mind while we were writing these stories.

TBI: What recognition has the book received so far?

Arefa: Nobel Laureate Dr. R. K.Pachauri read Tales from the Wild and found it to be “quite fascinating & an excellent attempt to connect children with Nature through stories.”

It is being received well in Sri Lanka where schools like the LPF Academy want to take it up as an Environment Study Book for the curriculum.

The book has received excellent reviews, more than what we’d expected. But my biggest reward was when at a school in Colombo, after a book reading session, all the teachers and students sang “What a Wonderful World” for me, something to remember them by. They told me to take the song in my heart for my father, the co-author.

TBI: Where can one order/buy the book?

Arefa: One can order the book on Flipkart.

Or buy the e-book on Amazon.

It is available in some bookstores in Mumbai, Delhi and Udaipur (Pages) and hopefully it should be available more widely soon.

TBI: Do you intend to follow it up with other titles in the future?

Arefa: We are writing a series of such wildlife/Nature books for children, which educate and entertain. The second book of the series is almost complete.

Other than that Dr. Raza and I co-authored another book called “Steed of Jungle God”, which is a collection of short stories about my father’s 60 years of jungle experiences, his encounters with the unknown phenomena and his quest for rational explanations behind them.

I’ve written another book called Iora and the Quest of Five, the first novel of a children’s fantasy series based in a rainforest.

Both these books are scheduled to be published in 2011-12.

Dr. Raza H Tehsin


Arefa Tehsin

The 12 stories are bound to fire children’s imagination and make them better appreciate nature and the animal life all around them (and fast disappearing). Pick up a copy and discover your wild side!

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