Ramayana (Real Reads)by Valmiki
Rama is the embodiment of righteousness, honor and valor – the perfect man and the ideal king of Kosala. Rama’s stepmother Kaikeyi longs to see her son Bharata crowned king, and persuades King Dasaratha that Rama, the rightful heir, should be sent into exile for fourteen years. Rama’s beautiful and devoted wife Sita, and Lakshmana his inseparable… See more details below
Rama is the embodiment of righteousness, honor and valor – the perfect man and the ideal king of Kosala. Rama’s stepmother Kaikeyi longs to see her son Bharata crowned king, and persuades King Dasaratha that Rama, the rightful heir, should be sent into exile for fourteen years. Rama’s beautiful and devoted wife Sita, and Lakshmana his inseparable half-brother, both choose to accompany him. Rama, Sita and Lakshmana live happily in the forest until the demon king Ravana is told by his sister that Sita is the most beautiful princess in the world. He decides to kidnap her, and lures her away to his kingdom in the south. Rama and Lakshmana must rescue Sita, and call on the great monkey army, led by the warrior Hanuman, to help them find her. Rama uses his time in exile to learn the true meaning of devotion and loyalty, but will the lessons earn him the reward he deserves? Real Reads are accessible texts designed to support the literacy development of primary and lower secondary age children while introducing them to the riches of our international literary heritage. Each book is a retelling of a work of great literature from one of the world’s greatest cultures, fitted into a 64-page book, making classic stories, dramas and histories available to intelligent young readers as a bridge to the full texts, to language students wanting access to other cultures, and to adult readers who are unlikely ever to read the original versions.
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I confess – I was not familiar with Ramaya before receiving this book. “Back in the day” in my Eurocentric curriculum, very little time was spent during elementary and secondary school on Asian literature. So, a basic, illustrated adaptation of Valmiki's “Ramaya” was a blessing. I could expose myself to this work during a plane flight – a SHORT plane flight, at that. Of course, that strength is also the book's biggest weakness; so much material, depth, hidden meanings, subplots, etc. must be omitted in order to squeeze hundreds of pages into 64, including illustrations and follow-up! The adaptor, Prema Jayakumar, recognizes this, and added a section documenting the major elements that were left out or tremendously shortened for this adaptation. Given that the target age for this book is listed as 9 to 13, I wonder if some of the vocabulary might be a bit overwhelming for our younger readers. On the other hand, perhaps I underestimate their abilities, and the word selection is spot-on for them. (NOTE: Given that this book is at least in part about a newly-married couple, I would imagine that some of the trimming done by our adapter may have been in keeping with age restrictions for the targeted reader. Not having read the original, I cannot say.) I certainly would recommend this book as an introduction to Indian literature, as long as the potential reader acknowledges that this is NOT meant to be a strict translation of the original work. RATING: 5 stars DISCLOSURE: I won this book in a random draw from the publisher. There was an expressed hope for a review (and implied hope for a good one), but neither was a condition set or agreed to as a condition of receipt.