Sacred River: The Ganges of India

Sacred River: The Ganges of India

by Ted Lewin
     
 

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All rivers in India are sacred, and the Ganges most of all. Every year, more than one million Hindu pilgrims journey to Benares to renew themselves in its waters. Caldecott Honor medalist Ted Lewin joined the pilgrims at the river's edge for an experience he describes as one of the most unforgettable of his life. His luminous watercolors and simple, evocative text… See more details below

Overview

All rivers in India are sacred, and the Ganges most of all. Every year, more than one million Hindu pilgrims journey to Benares to renew themselves in its waters. Caldecott Honor medalist Ted Lewin joined the pilgrims at the river's edge for an experience he describes as one of the most unforgettable of his life. His luminous watercolors and simple, evocative text brilliantly capture the traditions, beliefs, and colorful pageantry of the devout and their ancient city.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Lewin illuminates this picture book about the Ganges River with some of his finest artwork to date," said PW. Ages 6-10. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lewin (The Reindeer People) illuminates this picture book about the Ganges River with some of his finest artwork to date. Inspired by a visit to Benares, the sweeping, full-spread watercolors reflect a familiarity with the locale-its riverbanks teeming with colorfully dressed people, its majestic stone architecture, its changing light. So atmospheric is the art that the heaviness of the air becomes almost palpable, the noise easily imagined. The text, unfortunately, does not equal the illustrations' strength and ambience. A prefatory note explaining the importance the Hindu religion places on a pilgrimage to Benares supplies background, and brief descriptive captions on each spread identify aspects of Hindu traditions. But there is no story-nor, consequently, many footholds here for youngsters. Ages 6-10. (Aug.)
"The text functions as captions to the expansive watercolors, which capture every nuance of the changing light on water and stone as the sky lightens. . . . This beautiful book will be appreciated most by those who already have some background in India and Hinduism."
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Artist Lewin joined thousands of pilgrims who yearly wend their way to the banks of the sacred river Ganges, and this book is the result of that journey. The power of the river and the special place that it has in the hearts of the Hindu people of India are sensitively portrayed in this gentle picture book. From the old boatman rowing away in the light of the rising sun, to the temple towers reaching skyward from the jumble of riverside houses and shops, Lewin's artwork eloquently conveys the spirit of a place and its people as few outside the culture have been able to do. The text is simple and gracious. I only wish Lewin had chosen to use the euphonious Sanskrit name for the river, Ganga, over the rather stilted Westernized version, Ganges-but that's a minor flaw in an otherwise beautiful book.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
The Ganges stars in Ted Lewin's Sacred River. Better than any travelogue, Lewin's paintings capture the color and exotic setting of Benares where thousands of pilgrims come every day to renew themselves in the sacred waters of the Ganges. If one is to understand India from books, then this book must be at the top of the list. The throngs of people, the colorful, costumes, the holy men, and ancient architecture add to the pageantry and create mind images that are indelible.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Lewin makes a pilgrimage to Benares, India, where millions of Hindus come each year to purify their souls. Panoramic watercolors capture the majesty of the architecture and the ``...colorful clothing of the people'' that ``...makes a flower garden of the stone steps.'' The double-page paintings, which exhibit a masterful use of light and color, lend life to the stilted text and startle the eye with teeming activity. However, there are anomalies between text and illustration. For example, Lewin refers to ``...gray smoke and piles of ash'' that ``...mark the burning ghats, the place of funeral pyres.'' Though stacks of wood are visible, the ash and smoke are not. Another passage refers to the ``...dark stain of a high-water mark from past monsoon floods''-again indistinguishable. The arrival and departure of an old boatman frame the book's beginning and end, but it's not clear from his cargo or actions why he's there. In this spare work, Lewin has captured the visual impact of his journey; unfortunately, the marriage of art to text is less than rewarding.-Carolyn Noah, Central Mass. Regional Library System, Worcester, MA
Hazel Rochman
Lewin is one of our most gifted artists, and his watercolor paintings have brought us scenes of many places, from the streets of Cairo in "The Day of Ahmed's Secret (1990) to the island wilderness in "Lost Moose (1995). This time his subject is the Ganges at Benares, where millions of Hindu pilgrims come to purify their souls and find salvation in the sacred river. The detailed double-page-spread paintings capture the sweep of the crowd and the particular faces and movements of individual people, as well as the great river with its "divine light." The brilliant colors of the people's clothing in the sunlight make "a flower garden of the stone steps." What's lacking is a story or any kind of focus. Perhaps this book will reach kids through curriculum units on religion and social studies; those who care about landscape painting will pore over every scene.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547562742
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
07/19/1995
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
52 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Ted Lewin grew up in Buffalo, New York, with two brothers, one sister, two parents, a lion, an iguana, and a chimpanzee. He became interested in art as a young boy when he would draw his brothers' world of wrestling. Ted later worked as a professional wrestler to finance his studies at the Pratt Institute of Fine Arts, where he met his wife, Betsy Lewin, also a children's book writer and illustrator. He and his wife travel around the world to research the settings for their books. While working on SACRED RIVER, which he both wrote and illustrated, Ted joined thousands of Hindus on their pilgrimage to the banks of the Ganges River in Benares, India. Ted now lives and works in the brownstone he shares with his wife and their two cats in Brooklyn, New York. For more information visit www.tedlewin.com.

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