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Nagaraja, a Scottish Buddhist monk, makes his debut with 20 modern versions of Buddhist tales told in relaxed, straightforward prose. Some feature talking animals, Aesop-style, while others star hapless humans. In one, a rich miser is offered a small bowl of rice by a pauper, a gift which transforms him; in another, a magic stag forgives a human who has betrayed him. The earnest lessons these stories teach are reinforced by standalone morals at the conclusions: "All too often we open our mouths in anger.... A wise person thinks before they speak, and if they can't say something kind, they keep silent." Tancredi's illustrations feature the hard-edged, big-eyed characters found in popular children's media, giving the book a slick look at odds with its lofty aspirations. Ages 8-10. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.