‘The Tree Boy’, written by Srividhya Venkat and illustrated by Nayantara Surendranath isn’t your run-of-the-mill children’s storybook. It touches upon feelings of empathy and imagining what it would be like to be in someone else’s shoes.
When Sid is mocked on the football field and called a ‘tree’, he decides that it is the last thing he would ever like to be! The universe, however, has other plans for him and decides to play a trick on him and turn him into one! Having now found himself in the shoes of another – Sid realizes that being a tree isn’t as bad as he thought it would be.
The book is further elevated by its illustrations – a wonderful and refreshing combination of digital art, collage and illustration. One would think that the combination of a multitude of art styles would take away from the text of the book. Rather, it enhances the quirkiness of the book and adds depth to the message of the book – that of empathy.
The fantastical elements in the book, make it a humourous read- despite its short length. The Tree Boy is a marvellous combination of thoughtful writing and creative illustrations, centred around a sensitive plot.