Many of us were introduced to the world of dinosaurs through Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park – thrilling books followed by blockbuster edge-of-the-seat movies.
I know many children today rattle off names of various dinosaurs – almost as if they were names of their classmates!
The common pattern through all these – books, movies or buddies – is that the world is western. The scientists, the setting, the characters, the situation, the plot – and most importantly, the DINOSAURS – all belong to the western world.
Here’s where ‘The Adventures of Padma and a Blue Dinosaur ‘goes off the beaten track. The story brings alive the little-known Dinosaurs of India.
Uhmm…India did you say?
Well…we all know there was no India during the dinosaurs! What I mean is the dinosaurs in this region of the world 🙂
While the first half of the book is a fictional and imaginary tale, the second half is non-fiction and introduces children to prehistoric fossil finds in India, where dinosaurs must have roamed.
The Book is written by author Vaishali Shroff , illustrated by Suvidha Mistry and published by Harper Collins.
The Big Adventure
The story begins in a farm in the village of Rahioli in the Kheda district of Gujarat where Padma, a little girl lives with her grandmother Lahubehn. Wandering about to graze cattle with her grandmother, Padma often stumbles upon ancient rocks, and accidentally discovers a nest.
On one such trip, she bumps into a curious looking someone, who she appropriately names Rock Uncle. He is is a young palaeontologist working with the Geological Survey of India and identifies the strange looking rocks that Padma has discovered as dinosaur eggs.
Padma takes the egg home and sets it by her bedside at night.
Before she knows it, she is asleep and drawn into a dream world where something blue with pleading eyes stands by her. The rest of the story, is the adventure of Padma and her grandmother in a world of dinosaurs set by the Narmada river in Central India.
The latter half of the book introduces children to the world of Palaeontology and the wonderful fossil-rich heritage of India.
Before reading this book I had no idea that we have our very own Dinosaur Fossil Park in Gujarat where one can see and hold dinosaur fossils from India’s prehistoric era. I also did not know that India had several dinosaur nesting sites where eggs of dinosaurs, now fossilized, can be found.
The largest Cretaceous site in the world is in Central India and extends from Kutch in the West to Nagpur in the East, Hyderabad in the North and Tamil Nadu in the South covering a whopping area of 10,000 km²!THE BOOK HAS fascinating snippets like this
It is fascinating to read about how palaeontologists discover fossils and work with identifying and dating them – opening out a whole new world to children (and us!) about a profession and area of work one doesn’t often hear about.
And most importantly, it was fun to read the names of the Indian Dinosaurs for a change –
So bring on the Rajasauras narmadensis and the Bruhathkayosaurus matleyi (from the Sanskrit bruhat meaning large) and the Kotasaurus yamanpalliensis and the Barapasaurus tagorei (named after our very own Rabindranath Tagore!)
How strange that my mind floats from Bruhathkayosaurus and Barapasaurus to Bhasmasura and Bakasura! From giants of one kind to giants of another. Strange indeed is the flight of imagination!
If your child enjoys learning about Dinosaurs or if you are interested in introducing him/her to the little known profession of Palaeontology, be sure to check out this one!