French / France

Le tigre de miel
(The honey tiger)

Naïr, Karthika (text)
Jolivet, Joëlle (illus.)
Vitalyos, Dominique (transl.)
[Paris]: Hélium, 2013. – [52] p.
ISBN 978-2-330-02291-4

Honey | Theft | Taboo | Punishment | Metamorphosis | Fairy tale

This book represents a collaboration between French publisher Helium and Indian publisher Zubaan. It narrates a fascinating fairy tale from the Sundarban region, which connects South India with Bangladesh and is home to the world’s largest mangrove forests.

In the story, a poor boy named Shonou, the son of a honey collector, is hungry, especially for honey. He steals carelessly from the wild bees during a time when they need the honey for their young, even destroying their hives. He breaks the laws of the forest, and thus draws the anger of the tiger demon and Bonbibi, the protector goddess, who punish him by transforming him into a hibiscus plant. French illustrator Joelle Jolivet, finding inspiration in the Indian colour palette (fluorescent pink to dark violet), creates large-format paintings that complement this rhythmic, dramatic parable on the fragile balance of nature from great Indian poet Karthika Nair. (Age: 8+)