The Forest Man: The True Story of Jadav Payeng

Anne Matheson, illus. by Kay Widdowson. Flowerpot, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4867-1816-0
After the Brahmaputra River flooded and heavy monsoons devastated the river island of Majuli (“the forests were washed away, leaving only sand”), 14-year-old Jadav Payeng began planting trees to keep the island from “being slowly washed away.” For the next 40 years, Payeng continued planting trees—knowing “he would need many different trees and plants to make a strong and healthy forest”—traveling by foot, boat, and bike to tend them. As the forest grew, birds, plants, and animals returned: “Cows and deer, monkeys and elephants, rabbits, tigers, and even a few rare one-horned rhinos.” Bright, stylized illustrations of the Indian forest’s smiling inhabitants support the simple text. Supplemental pages identify animals, offer information about the forest, and include a glossary; while sales of the book support a tree-planting nonprofit, it is unclear whether any profits will directly support Payeng’s ongoing efforts. Ages 5–8. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/13/2020
Release date: 04/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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