Monday, June 28, 2021

Book cover: "Chendru"

  • Title: Chendru
  • Subtitle: The Boy and the Tiger
  • Author: Astrid Bergman Sucksdorff (1927-2015)
  • About the author: She was a Swedish photographer and author of many children's books, of which this was one of her earliest. According to the English translation of her Swedish Wikipedia page: "In 1952, Astrid Bergman received a request from the filmmaker Arne Sucksdorff to become a still photographer for his first feature film project, The Great Adventure. Astrid and Arne shared a strong interest in nature and soon became a couple. In connection with the filming in the forests of Sörmland, Astrid was given responsibility for an injured fox cub and this led to the photo project that resulted in her first photo book for children, Micki the fox cub." Read more about her here.
  • English translation by: William Sansom
  • Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World
  • Year: 1960 for the English version; first published in 1959
  • Pages: 54 (with color photos taking up about 75% of the space)
  • Format: Hardcover, library binding
  • Dimensions: 8½ inches by 11⅜ inches
  • Provenance: West Des Moines Library, then stamped "DISCARD." The name "Scott" is written on the inside front cover.
  • First sentence: Far away in the middle of India lies the jungle village of Gahr-Bengal.
  • Last sentence: And he dreams only this dream: that when Tambu has grown truly big and strong, then he will ride his tiger into the jungle, far away to the Blue Mountains where once his father found a little cub, and even farther, on to other jungles, other rivers ... riding, riding ... boy and tiger ... riding on forever.
  • Random sentence from middle #1: No one is afraid to sleep when there is a tiger in the company.
  • Random sentence from middle #2: Tambu keeps on growing ... no more buffaloes' milk for him — now it is meat!
  • Rating on Goodreads: 3.62 stars (out of 5)
  • Goodreads review excerpt: In March of this year, Paul wrote: "Yet another gem of a book from my childhood. Bought for me when I was just 4 years old, my mother read this to me many, many times. It is the beautifully written, true story of Chendru, a young boy of the Muria people from the Bastar region in the jungles of Eastern India. When he is about 14 years old, his father and grandfather return from a hunting trip with an abandoned tiger cub. Chendru and Tambu (the tiger) immediately become best buds."
  • What happened to Chendru? On the blog Face to Face, Upendra Singh wrote this in September 2018: "He was Chendru Mandavi by name. He belonged to 'Muria' tribe and was living in Garh Bengal in Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh. He rescued a cub and brought it home and played with the tiger like many of the children do with their toys in modern times." Because of Arne Sucksdorff's documentary film and Astrid Bergman Sucksdorff's book and photographs, Chendru achieved worldwide fame a short time. Singh writes the Chendru "saw 'modern life' in Sweden and dreamt of going out of his village to study. He remained in Europe for several months exploring the modern life there. ... But Chendru’s domestic constraints didn’t permit him to settle down anywhere else than his village." Chendru died in 2013. He lived the final years of his life battling poverty and hunger, according to a newspaper report.
And he dreams only this dream: ... boy and tiger ... riding on forever.

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