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Children's LiteratureThis volume is part of the publisher's "Living Religions" series—the other titles are Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. The series focuses on the major world religions and particularly on their relevance to contemporary life. The material in these books seeks to find a balance between origins, history and current practice, and also aims to explore what the reader can learn both about and from the religion being presented. In Hinduism, Gibson makes every effort to clarify facts and present succinct information about a religion so old that, to the outsider, it might often seem to be a swirling array of contradictions. The book opens with an introduction supported by a map of the region and presenting facts and theories about Hinduism's origin. Although the relationship to present-day Hinduism of the Indus Valley site illustration is not touched upon at all, this is on the whole a clear and effective introduction. It's a challenging task to present the complexities of Hindu belief and thinking within the confines of 64 pages, and on the whole this book succeeds. Chapters address sacred texts, teachers and leaders, society, symbols, festivals, rites of passage, and more. Creation tales are told from a Rig Vedic and later perspectives, and presented as stories exemplifying what is considered a great mystery. The avatars of Vishnu are presented in an attractive full-page illustration. They, however, present Jayadeva's context of including Buddha, with no explanation indicating that here again not all Hindus would agree. Still, linkages to present-day life are both thoughtful and sensitive, e.g., the Chipko movement and its scriptural grounding.Photographs, diagrams, fact boxes, biographies and quotations, and a full glossary and index augment the text. 2003, Raintree, Ages 8 to 12.