From the Publisher
"Unlike the many religion books for young readers that focus upon the central tenets and rites as well as the cultural practices of its adherents, these titles are based on narratives. . . . Ganeri's writing is inviting and fluid. Libraries wanting more diverse information on world religions will find that these titles fit the bill nicely." —School Library Journal
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Ganeri's work is well represented in the educational market. In this title, part of the publisher's "Traditional Religious Tales" series, she retells eight stories, beginning with the Buddha's birth onward. They include pivotal incidents from his life, as retold in the Buddhist canon, the Tripitaka. The story of Prince Siddhartha and the swan is here, as is the prince's first encounter with the four sights of old age, sickness, death, and mendicancy that set him upon his journey in search of truth. The prince's search, his enlightenment, and his first sermon as the Buddha, constitute the transitional tales that are followed by the story of the grieving mother and the mustard seed, and the robber who wore a necklace of his victims' fingers. The final story is of the Buddha's passage from this world. Ganeri's retellings are direct, and she is as always scrupulous about the accuracy and simplicity of the narrative. While her rendering is extremely competent, one wonders how much richer these stories would be if they were not constrained by the trappings of their didactic packaging. Each story, illustrated in full color in a 9 x 11 library-bound format, is accompanied by boxed text with the caption "Did you know?" that offers up some tidbit of information about Buddhist beliefs and practices. A glossary of terms and names, an index, and additional source materials constitute back matter. Other titles in the series include Christian Stories, Islamic Stories, and Hindu Stories.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-6-Unlike the many religion books for young readers that focus upon the central tenets and rites as well as the cultural practices of its adherents, these titles are based on narratives. Buddhist zeroes in on the life and teachings of the Buddha, moving through his disenchantment and enlightenment and into less-familiar tales, such as that of the grieving Kisagotami or of a violent robber whose name means "finger necklace." In the case of Hinduism, Ganeri has selected significant and dramatic stories such as the creation of Ganesh and how he came to have an elephant's head; the birth of Krishna, an incarnation of Rama; and Durga's conquest of a shape-changing demon. While Islamic gives its greatest attention to events from the life of Muhammad, it also recounts stories from the more-distant past involving Musa/Moses, Ibrahim/Abraham, Isma'il/Ishmael, and Hajar/Hagar. The power and wisdom of Allah are central in these stories. Sikh also has a biographical focus, selecting important didactic lessons from the lives of the Sikh gurus to make their points. A noteworthy aspect of these stories is the prominence of Sikhism's stance against greed and those who use religion for self-aggrandizement. All four volumes have sidebars with additional information and small photographs. The illustrations, done in watercolor and pen and ink are merely competent, but Ganeri's writing is inviting and fluid. Libraries wanting more diverse information on world religions will find that these titles fit the bill nicely.-Coop Renner, Hillside Elementary, El Paso, TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.