Ideal textbook material

Stella Pauline Punitha

It is so refreshing to write this review for Katie Bagli’s creation “HABITATS and their denizens”. One must appreciate Katie for her choice of title and theme. It’s ‘Home sweet Home’ for anyone. Man’s home has become a mansion with the advancements made in technology and development. However, it does excite us to ascertain and comprehend the simple but cliquey and luxurious places in which our animal and bird friends live.

We are alerted to remember that from a tree to the clouds, habitats are not confined to those five or six types that we read about in social studies textbooks. On the contrary there are about 17 types of habitats and two niches that the book portrays.

For a 10 or 12-year-old child, Katie presents a ‘word video’ which takes the reader to the habitat or niche and experience the feel and perceptually capture the community of animals and birds that live there.

There are solo habitats like a Tree and endless canopy like Clouds between which are mountains with alpine forests, deodar forests and mangroves. In the urban setting we have gardens, above the ground the grasslands, and below the ground the underground habitat. Water based habitats that invite readers to a fabulous life are bets, high tide zone, low tide zone, coral reefs and ocean floor. It would be incomplete if the regular habitats like rivers, ponds and phumdis are not mentioned. The list includes hot desert and cold desert.

The fascinating aspect is the colouring activity for all the habitats which makes the reading more absorbing. The book targets pre-teens and early teens to enjoy the diverse life around us. The visual cum text effect surely will leave a lasting impact of the habitat and will make every reader an environmental steward.

Unlike other books, HABITAT takes just a few hours to complete reading and also acquire comprehensive knowledge about the animal life that inhabit a certain habitat. The language is lucid and clear but very specific and context-based. The style of narration will tempt readers to read again. As an educator, if given a choice, I would replace the subject textbook with Katie Bagli’s creation – HABITATS, to ensure learning.

HABITATS is not prescribed for young readers alone but also for the teachers who teach various HABITATS!

The reviewer has worked with school students for nearly two decades and believes in every child. She is the Principal of The Schram Academy, Chennai. She can be reached at

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