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The Night Life of Trees

4.58  ·  Rating Details ·  170 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Intricately drawn visions of trees fill the pages of this sumptuous book of art and folklore from the Gond tribe in central India. As traditional forest dwellers, the Gonds believe that trees are central to life. During the day, trees work hard, providing shade, shelter and nourishment for all. But at night, when all the daytime visitors have left, the spirits in the trees ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published 2010 by Tara Books (first published 2006)
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let's be honest. with this one, you're not reading it for the articles.

the text of the book is fine - it's just spare fragments of folklore from the gond tribe of central india about trees. but the book itself, as objet, well, that's another matter entirely. it is a from a limited print-run, of which each book has been individually silk-screened onto thick handmade paper by this publisher:, and all of their books are gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous.


so beautiful. love.

Vivek Tejuja
Aug 01, 2015 Vivek Tejuja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Trees are strange. Trees are comforting. Trees have histories and tales spun around them. Trees also have a life of their own which cannot be gauged by humans.

Keeping this in mind and all the tradition and myths behind trees of India, tribal artists in conjunction with Tara Books have published a beautiful limited edition hand-made book called “The Night Life of Trees” and I cannot begin to praise and admire it.

I am not the one for trees and their stories and what they are all about, but after
This is one of the most gorgeous books I've ever seen. Pictures of trees by three artists of the Gond people of India are individually silk-screened onto hand-made paper. They are captioned with bits of folklore from that region of India. I can't recommend this book highly enough - the artwork is beautiful, and the tales that are told are just enough to make the work complete. Even if your reading time is limited, get hold of a copy of this book; it won't take you but a few minutes to look at th ...more
Jun 01, 2010 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, picture, art
Three Gond artists create dramatic images of trees to accompany folklore concerning trees.
Inês Beato
Nov 14, 2014 Inês Beato rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Feb 21, 2017 Marcy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most gorgeous books I've ever seen. To start with, there are three Gond artists who have made all the fabulous illustrations in the book. Although it's a story book about Indian forest trees and what happens in relation between themselves and all the creatures that inhabit them, the beauty of the book makes it very much an adult art book as well. In sum, it's a children's book for humans of all ages.
Nanditha Sankar
Feb 05, 2017 Nanditha Sankar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: take-two
The Night Life of Trees is a visual delight. A testimony of the brilliant talent that lies within the Godha tribe, each page of the book, carefully crafted on handmade paper carries stellar images of trees, birds and animals. Each tree has a story behind its existence, its own set of inhabitants. Some of the trees carry the Earth on their trunks, while others grant wishes in a jiffy. The book is a collector's treasure.
Jan 10, 2017 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Nash Tysmans
Apr 29, 2011 Nash Tysmans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
The publishing company that produced this book wasn't lying when, in a blurb, they wrote that owning one of their books offered the reader a rare chance to own something that is "unique in concept, art, design, production and - most importantly - created by hand." Buying this off my friend who had just arrived from a conference in Hawaii seemed a bit impulsive at first but after flipping through these pages, I realized that I wasn't just buying a book but one so handsomely made it could have pas ...more
Francesca Watkins&George
According to the Gond tribe of central India, good fortune befalls those whose eyes meet a good image. Good fortune to those who are lucky enough to read this book, then. Silk-screened by hand on black, thick paper, every page of this book is an original numbered art print - and a pure delight to look at, to savour and to touch.

Trees with names as exotic and mysterious as Khirsali, Nagphani, Sembar, serpent goddesses, chameleons, birds and people, life and death... This book is a window on a wo
Jessica Pesic
May 09, 2011 Jessica Pesic rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous illustrations, moving content, a completely magical book. Though its hard to pick a favourite peice of folklore, a few that really stood out for me were; The Squirrel's Dream; Snakes and Earth; and The Tree of Twelve Horns. But the one that moved me the most by far was, The Home of the Creator.
"... The Peepul tree is so perfect, that seen against the sky, it seems to have the same shape as its own leaf. The detail is the same as the whole."
Now that is a tree I would like to see one day
Megan M
Gorgeous artwork, there is no doubt. But I found myself not really sure what the "stories" that accompanied that illustrations were about. There is definitely something to love about a book that is beautiful just to be beautiful, but I wish that the stories had been easier to understand. I don't feel like I could share this with a child and have them really appreciate it when I don't feel like I could even really appreciate it.
Joy Murray
Brilliant and beautiful, this book is a pleasure to read and to behold. The art was exquisite line work in bright colors on black handmade paper. The ink had a presence. The narrative was poetic and told tales that blurred the borders between trees, humans, and creatures. For a blog post on other books by Tara press, see my blog:
Oct 10, 2012 Mahinn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You will need several sittings with this books to truly appreciate its beauty and message. If you're going to look at these stunning paintings you might as well forget about reading. If you are going to read, make sure the goodness of every word seeps into your skin like a mud pack. Then go back and do it all over again. It is the only way.
Dec 03, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Stunning book! A piece of Art.

Short stories/folktales about trees in the Gond tradition. (India) Limited edition, hand numbered, hand made paper, hand printed pages, incredible illustrations. Black paper. 20 illustrations, 40 pages (44 with forward and title page)
I strongly suggest that you find a copy, or better yet, buy this book for yourself.
Book is published in India.
Amanda Schutz
Dec 02, 2015 Amanda Schutz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kid-s-books
One of the most beautiful beautiful picture books I will ever own. The detail is amazing, and I was fortunate to take a tour of the silkscreening shop that makes these books, in Chennai India. Every page is maticulously silkscreened, giving a very tactile experience! Amazing.
Apr 17, 2014 Bishnupriya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A treat for the eyes... A book full of exquisite images of trees created by three gond artists. The images are paired with fragments of folk tales which i felt could be improved. This book, claims a piece of your heart by being a 'whole' beautiful something.
Jennifer Ready
Nov 20, 2016 Jennifer Ready rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous art, and a finely handcrafted book. The myths are interesting, but the illustrations are the stars.
Felipe rated it it was amazing
Mar 17, 2014
Eline rated it really liked it
Jun 27, 2016
Carolina rated it it was amazing
Mar 25, 2016
Malena rated it it was amazing
May 26, 2014
Zachary rated it it was amazing
Aug 09, 2016
Kate rated it it was amazing
Jul 06, 2008
Nicole Franco
Nicole Franco rated it it was amazing
Feb 07, 2017
Davy rated it really liked it
Jan 10, 2012
Marianne rated it it was amazing
Apr 09, 2015
John Fistikis
John Fistikis rated it it was ok
Dec 20, 2011
John rated it really liked it
May 17, 2016
Peter Hedlund
Peter Hedlund rated it it was amazing
Jan 08, 2015
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Bhajju Shyam is one of the finest artists of the Gond tribe in central India. Like most children from his tribe, Bhajju grew up helping his mother paint the walls of their village home, and at the age of sixteen, he moved to the city of Bhopal in search of work and soon became an apprentice to his uncle, the famous artist Jangarh Singh Shyam. Bhajju’s prowess as an independent artist grew quickly, ...more
More about Bhajju Shyam...

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