English / India
Dance of the wild
Mhasane, Ruchi (illus.)
Noida: Pickle Yolk Books, 2017. –  p.
Freedom | Self-esteem | Nudity | Curiosity | Family | Picture book
White Ravens issue: 2018
Reading age: 4+
Little Shilu loves to dance and twirl around in her birthday suit. Despite her grandma’s protests, she delights in jumping around as free as her pet cat Pirate and all the other animals. When Nannu tries to reason with her that, as a big girl, she now must follow the adults’ rules and wear some clothes, the small protagonist challenges her to remember her own childhood. Shilu’s enthusiasm and disarming curiosity ensure that Nannu and Mamma treat her with lenience and love, and even join in her romp around the garden (though fully clothed). Richa Jha’s playful, gently flowing text is paired with vibrant colour pencil illustrations in soft hues that portray Shilu’s healthy self-esteem and pride in her body still unencumbered by embarrassment or societal norms. Told entirely from the young girl’s point of view, the book delivers an enchanting tale of family love, curiosity, and freedom of expression.