Rama and the Demon King: An Ancient Tale from India

Rama and the Demon King: An Ancient Tale from India

by Jessica Souhami
     
 

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Banished by his jealous stepmother, the good and brave Prince Rama has lived in the forest for 14 years, along with his beautiful wife Sita and his loyal brother Lakshaman. Rama has triumphed over the demons that dwell there and the three live a simple, peaceful life among the forest animals. But it is not to last, for the ten-headed King of the Demons vows to take

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Overview

Banished by his jealous stepmother, the good and brave Prince Rama has lived in the forest for 14 years, along with his beautiful wife Sita and his loyal brother Lakshaman. Rama has triumphed over the demons that dwell there and the three live a simple, peaceful life among the forest animals. But it is not to last, for the ten-headed King of the Demons vows to take revenge Eye-catching illustrations, based on the Indian tradition of shadow-puppetry, convey the exuberance of a millennia-old tale which is still very much alive today.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
The Ramayana, the tale of the hero prince Rama, is a well beloved story in the Hindu tradition. It is simply and directly narrated here. Souhami's storyteller voice is strong, and she has done a creditable job of extracting the main body of the tale from the complex web in which layers of custom and tradition generally immerse it. The shadow puppet illustrations are beautifully evocative of rural India, and the demon king Ravana is quite satisfyingly villainous. Souhami has not flinched from the violence in this legend. Instead she's handled it subtly and in the context of the battle between good and evil. Making this epic-scale story accessible to the young reader is a daunting task. Overall, Souhami has succeeded in doing that. If anything is lacking, it's mention of the fact (perhaps in the backmatter) that this is a sacred story, not just a "tale from India."
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3The tale of Prince Rama is both complex (filling 24,000 couplets in the Ramayana) and simple (good triumphs over evil). Souhami preserves the central ingredients: the characters and the plot outline. At the request of his jealous stepmother, Rama is exiled by his father, the king, for 14 years. His wife, Sita, and his brother, Lakshman, accompany him on his demon-killing adventures in the forest. They live happily until Ravana, the 10-headed demon king, employs a ruse to steal Sita. Hanuman, the monkey leader, and his monkey army help rescue her and the prince kills Ravana. Rama becomes king, forgiving his stepmother, and all ends well. The illustrations, clear, flat blocks of color against a white background, look like tissue-paper cutouts. Indian artistic conventions (profile heads and lower bodies, straight-on torsos) and decorative motifs add an exotic flavor. Sherbet-bright tints and a lively, uncluttered layout increase the appeal of this ancient but engaging tale.Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Kirkus Reviews
Souhami (The Leopard's Drum, 1996, etc.) creates bold illustrations that have the look of cut-paper collage for this retelling of a Hindu tale from The Ramayana.

Brave and good prince Rama should be happy—he's the king's favorite son, his wife is dear, his brother is his best friend, and everybody loves him—except his jealous stepmother. She arranges for Rama's exile to the dangerous, demon-ridden forest for 14 years. Wife and brother accompany Rama thence, and together the three establish peace and live a simple life. Enter Ravana, the ten-headed king of demons, who flies to India in his magic chariot to avenge his slain demons only to be instantly smitten with Rama's wife, Sita, whom he steals. The brothers search for Sita, enlisting the aid of Hanuman, the leader of the monkey army. In subsequent warfare the demons are defeated; Rama slays Ravana, is reunited with Sita, and returns to India, only to find that his father has died of grief. Rama is made king, ruling so wisely that the land becomes fruitful and free of evil. What sets this folktale apart from many others is the author's theatrical sense of timing; Souhami cues storytellers as to the inflections and pauses for suspense that will make this a story- hour favorite.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781847806604
Publisher:
Frances Lincoln Children's Bks
Publication date:
08/15/2015
Pages:
36
Product dimensions:
8.25(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

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