The Rumor: A Jataka Tale from India

Overview


Long ago in Ancient India, there lived a young hare who worried about everything — food, rain, and even the color of her eyes. As the worrywort hare tries to settle down for a quiet nap in her favorite sun-dappled grove of palms and mango trees, she is startled into action by a sudden and very loud explosion.

Convinced that the world is breaking up, the hare tears out of the grove, into a thicket, across a marshland, through a forest, out into the scrubland and onto the open ...

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Overview


Long ago in Ancient India, there lived a young hare who worried about everything — food, rain, and even the color of her eyes. As the worrywort hare tries to settle down for a quiet nap in her favorite sun-dappled grove of palms and mango trees, she is startled into action by a sudden and very loud explosion.

Convinced that the world is breaking up, the hare tears out of the grove, into a thicket, across a marshland, through a forest, out into the scrubland and onto the open plain. All along the way, she spreads her alarming news, gathering up an ever-increasing herd of terrified animals: hares, wild boars, deer, tigers, and rhinos. The stampede continues and the frenzy grows, until one wise voice prevails….

Perfect for reading aloud, this beautifully told traditional story from India is a lovely version of a classic "The Sky Is Falling" tale. Vibrant illustrations set inside exquisite borders in a handsome large format book have an effect like gorgeous tapestries on every page. The richness of each illustration adds layers to this deceptively simple fable, and young readers will love to pore over the art to pick up the hidden details in each piece.

Nature Notes at the back of the book give additional information on the wildlife, flora, and fauna featured in the story and illustrations, as well as the origins of the tale and the style of illustration.

The Rumor is a retelling of an ancient Jataka tale from India. Jataka tales have been used for more than 2,500 years to teach about sharing, compassion, and the difference between good and bad.

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Editorial Reviews

Joanne Findon
This retelling of a traditional Jataka tale from India will delight children and adults alike ... This is certainly a book to treasure.
Quill and Quire
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-The plot of this beautifully rendered tale is reminiscent of the story of Chicken Little. When a young hare hears a mango crash to earth, she believes that the world is breaking up. As she flees in panic, she gathers up thousands of hares, boars, deer, tigers, and rhinoceroses, who join her in her flight. Unlike Chicken Little, this hare finally meets a wise and kind lion (representing the Buddha, although this is mentioned only in the endnote) who takes her back to find the mango and recognize her mistake. This is a story worth knowing, both for its cultural heritage and for its wise message, and it is retold in well-chosen language with just enough repetition to make the narrative sing without bogging it down. Best of all, however, are the illustrations. Rich greens, blues, and red-oranges dominate bordered paintings of hordes of animals running through the habitats of India. Some pages have a Rousseau-like look. Others are almost tessellations of creatures moving in unison. Varying perspectives move from close-ups of animals to bird's-eye views of forest, stream, marshland, and mango grove. The plot, language, and illustrations combine to make a fine read-aloud.-Ellen Heath, Orchard School, Ridgewood, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Thornhill (Before and After, 1997, etc.) retells the ancient "sky is falling!" tale informally: being a "worrywart," a hare is startled into believing that the world is breaking up when a mango falls behind him. Soon he's joined in his flight by 999 more hares, plus "a thousand boars," "a thousand deer," and "a thousand tigers," etc.-all of whom are stopped in their tracks by a calm lion, who gets to the cause of the panic and leaves everyone "pretty embarrassed." Frames set off Thornhill's increasingly crowded paintings, which in composition, as well as delicacy of natural detail, resemble Demi's Indian-flavored art, though not as delicately. In each frame, the mango is dominant, but careful observers will note that the background echoes the palm grove or thicket or marsh of each new animal to join the throng. The telling is arch and clever, pitched just right for reading aloud with a grin, though the final scene of the thousands of animals returning to their habitat might be hard for a group to see without getting close. Not a replacement for Rafe Martin's Foolish Rabbit's Big Mistake, illustrated by Ed Young (1985), this does have a slightly different focus as, beyond the tale itself, the cast is composed of endangered Indian animals, all of whom are introduced at the end with a note about their loss of habitat. (Picture book/folk tale. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781894379397
  • Publisher: Owlkids Books
  • Publication date: 9/7/2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 11.70 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jan Thornhill's books have twice been shortlisted for the Governor General's Award, Canada's most prestigious children's book prize. Wildlife 1 2 3 was awarded the UNICEF Ezra Jack Keats Award. A Tree in a Forest won the Canadian Children's Literature Roundtables Information Book Award. Crow and Fox was chosen a White Raven Book by UNESCO International Children's Library in Munich. When she isn't working on a children's book, Jan spends her time writing adult fiction, bird watching, and gardening.

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