A rich and dazzling collection of mythological tales drawn from Hindu epics. Each story is told in colour yet simple language, and prefaced with some personal anecdote from the author's childhood. Beautifully illustrated throughout in black line and tone by Michael Foreman.
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Madhur Jaffrey was born near Delhi and grew up listening to stories such as these, mainly from the older women in the family. Today she is known throughout the world as a talented actress and, more recently, an author of cookery books. In Seasons of Splendour she has returned to the colourful myths and legends she was told as a child, and the result is a dramatic collection for children to read for themselves or have read aloud to them in the traditional Indian way. Michael Foreman is an award-winning children's book author and illustrator.From School Library Journal:
Grade 4-6 In the introduction, Jaffrey promises a recounting of stories told ". . .not only to separate right from wrong but to prepare us, indirectly, for the vagaries of life and the fact of death." Indeed, this is the unconscious aim of all folklore. Unfortunately, in this case Jaffrey's writing style and grasp of language are not equal to the task of retelling fine old legends. Such dull colloqualisms as "he loved her a lot," "someone's problems are weighing on me like a ton of bricks" and "All right, all right" are sprinkled liberally throughout the stories and destroy the integrity of the tales. Arranged to follow the Hindu calendar of feasts and festivals, the tales are those Jaffrey remembers hearing as a child growing up near Delhi. Each story is preceded by her childhood memories of the events and setting in which she heard the tale. These vignettes give a vivid picture of life in India from a child's point of view, and the pronunciation guide for the names of characters and events is helpful. Foreman's drawings and full-page color paintings that profusely illustrate the text have an appropriate mystical cast, but too often they are needlessly grotesque. A picture of the demon Pootana, a dark, bony creature floating in mid-air with the baby Krishna suckling at her elongated, misshapen breast, could better have been left to the imagination. The stories themselves are exciting and memorable, if readers can get past the choppy writing and grotesque illustrations. Joseph Jacobs' Indian Fairy Tales (Dover, 1969) and Flora A. Steel and R. C. Temple's Tales of the Punjab (Bodley Head, 1984) are better choices for Indian folklore. Connie C. Rockman, Ferguson Library, Stamford, Conn.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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