Kali and the Rat Snake


Author: Zai Whitaker
Illustrated by Srividya Natarajan

9788186895436 | Centre Stapled | pp. 24 | 2000 | Tulika Publishers

Kali belongs to the Irula tribe of snake-catchers. He hates school as he has no friends. Can one incident change that?

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Kali hates school. And school hates him, he thinks, for he has no friends. The children there find him strange. He wishes his father were an ‘ordinary’ bus-conductor or postman instead of a snake-catcher, even if one of the most celebrated in the Irula tribe. He worries that others will see him eating fried termites (his favourite snack!) and laugh. And then one day, a large rat snake creates havoc in the classroom . . . and Kali becomes a hero! A simple, sensitive story crafted by a writer deeply involved with environmental issues. The author works closely with the Irulas, and her empathy with them is as evident in this book as it was with the Jarawas in Andamans Boy, also published by Tulika. The watercolour illustrations are evocative and detailed, suffusing the story with many hues of mood.


Zai Whitaker
Illustrator: Ashok Rajagopalan




Tulika Publishers





Year of Publication:






Country of Origin:


About the Contributors

The Author grew up in Mumbai, in a family of naturalists. She has written novels, stories and poems for children – including Andamans Boy, Kali and the Rat Snake and Kanna Panna, published by Tulika. She now lives and works at the Madras Crocodile Bank, near Chennai, which she helped ‘Snake Man’ Rom Whitaker set up almost 40 years ago.

The illustrator writes and draws for children’s books. He believes that anyone who wants to can draw or write. He lives in a sleepy suburb of Chennai with his family and books. His evocative, comic illustrations fill the pages of many books.


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