In the Heart of the Village: The World of the Indian Banyan Tree

Overview

In a brilliant combination of lyrical prose and glowing watercolors, acclaimed author-artist Barbara Bash captures the soul of the ancient and sacred banyan, painting a vivid picture of its importance to the people and other life forms that flourish beneath and within its welcoming branches. Both beautiful and enlightening, this book provides a unique glimpse of the interconnectedness of life in a rural culture. Full color.

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Overview

In a brilliant combination of lyrical prose and glowing watercolors, acclaimed author-artist Barbara Bash captures the soul of the ancient and sacred banyan, painting a vivid picture of its importance to the people and other life forms that flourish beneath and within its welcoming branches. Both beautiful and enlightening, this book provides a unique glimpse of the interconnectedness of life in a rural culture. Full color.

Describes the importance of a banyan tree to an Indian village.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Starting with a brief retelling of a myth from Orissa, India, about the origin of the banyan tree, this lavishly illustrated work draws the reader into the world of this extraordinary tree. And what a world it is! It is a place for playing, resting, trading, nesting, and more. It is home to an amazing array of animals and birds and the stage for a host of human activities, from sacred to artistic to mundane. It is the heart of the village, and Barbara Bash takes us under its canopy, with grace and flair, as well as respect for the peoples and traditions that the tree shelters.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Exquisite paintings brimming with the colorful and exotic dress of the people and wonderful paintings of the local animals.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-In a small village in India, the sacred banyan tree is the center and heart of life, and it is protected and worshipped by the people. During the day, traders trade, school classes are held, people rest from the midday heat, children swing from the vines, and conversations take place beneath it. Birds nest, owls sleep, and monkeys chase one another in the branches. In the evenings, the tree provides a sheltering theater where costumed dancers and storytellers perform. Deep in the night, the flying foxes come out. This day in the life of a banyan is presented in lilting text that effectively captures the activities of a community and shows how its people revolve around this majestic tree. The rich, full-page watercolor illustrations make the book a natural for reading aloud and the hand-lettered text adds to the simplicity and earthiness of the tale. A wonderful offering that will be appreciated by anyone interested in nature and the interconnectedness of life.-Helen Rosenberg, Chicago Public Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
A fascinating look at the social, spiritual, and ecological significance of the banyan tree in the life of an Indian village. The banyan tree in the center of the village is known as the "many-footed one" because its aerial roots form pillars when they touch the ground and take hold. The tree expands to form a virtual forest, and under its canopy, life thrives. The banyan is a place for egrets to nest, villagers to barter, owlets to sleep, children to play, monkeys to chase each other, bats to feed, elders to meet. In this entry in the Tree Tales series, readers come to appreciate the value of the banyan, and to gain a glimpse of the interconnectedness of all living creatures. Bash (Ancient Ones, 1994, etc.) has created a harmonious story, written out in calligraphy and warmly, colorfully illustrated with authentic scenes that firmly root this tree's importance in the facts.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871565754
  • Publisher: Sierra Club Books for Children
  • Publication date: 9/1/1996
  • Series: Books for Children Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.34 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Bash, author-illustrator of six award-winning titles for Sierra Club Books for Children, has worked for many years as a calligrapher, illustrator, and teacher of book arts and botanical drawing. She lives in upstate New York.

Barbara Bash, author-illustrator of six award-winning titles for Sierra Club Books for Children, has worked for many years as a calligrapher, illustrator, and teacher of book arts and botanical drawing. She lives in upstate New York.

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Read an Excerpt

In the ancient times, Nirantali, the first mother of the earth, was sent by the gods to create the world. She carried with her tiny banyan seeds wrapped in leaves.

First she made the sun, the moon, and the earth; then she created human beings. But the sun beat down on the people, and they felt hot all the time because they had no shade. So Nirantali gave them the banyan seeds to plant.

The seed gre into small trees with tiny leaves that provided no shade at all. So Nirantali took the leaves and began to pull. She tugged and tugged until the leaves were large. Then she stretched the banyan branches until they reached all the way down to the ground.

Soon people came from all around to sit together in the shade of the tree. This is how the banyan came to grow in the heart of the village.

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Introduction

In a brilliant combination of lyrical prose and glowing watercolors, acclaimed author-artist Barbara Bash captures the soul of the ancient and sacred banyan, painting a vivid picture of its importance to the people and other animals that flourish beneath and within its welcoming branches. Both beautiful and enlightening, In The Heart of the Village provides a unique glimpse of the interconnectedness of life in a rural culture.


About the Author:
Barbara Bash, author-illustrator of five award-winning titles for Sierra Club Books, has worked for many years as a calligrapher, illustrator and teacher of book arts and botanical drawings.

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