The Forest Keeper by Rina Singh, illustrated by Ishita Jain

The Forest Keeper: The True Story of Jadav Payeng by Rina Singh, illustrated by Ishita Jain. NorthSouth Books, Inc, 2023. 9780735845053 

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Hardcover picture book

What did you like about the book? The true story of a boy who wanted to protect his local area and the creatures that lived there. A river burst, scattering hundreds of water snakes on the sandbar. In the hot sun, they shriveled up and died. He asked others to help plant trees but not even the forest department would help. They did give him some seeds, so he planted them on his own beginning at sixteen years old. He biked and rowed to get to the location to water the seeds and tend the saplings as they grew. At first it was just bamboo, but later he planted other trees too. Eventually, animals came to the island. The trees stand tall protecting the island and its inhabitants when the river still floods on occasion. There is additional information after the story about the island. His forest now stretches 1,359 acres! Vibrant illustrations place the emphasis on the beauty of nature.

Anything you didn’t like about it? Not a thing

To whom would you recommend this book? Children ages 6-12, especially those interested in the environment or making a difference in the world.

Who should buy this book? Elementary schools and public libraries

Where would you shelve it? jnon-fiction (picture books)

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Vicky Tandy, Athol Public Library, Athol, MA

Date of review: March 24, 2023

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