This anthology presents eight fluid retellings of folktales from different Indian states. It includes "Hanuman's Adventures," part of the "Ramayana," in which the monkey god Hanuman helps Prince Rama find his wife, as well as a retelling of the tale of Damayanti and Nala, a love story from the Sanskrit epic, the "Mahabharata." Several folktales center on girls-some need to find a passable husband; others are kidnapped or mistreated by a stepmother. An introduction offers a brief overview of the country's history, from Indus Valley civilization to the Mughal dynasties, concluding with a paragraph about modern India. Each folktale is preceded by a note with facts about the state from which it originated, including explanations of festivals or terms that appear in the text. Illustrations and page borders support the texts perfectly as the folk-style paintings reflect colors of rural life. Attention to detail is given by including the typical tie-dye fabrics for the stories set in Rajasthan and Gujarat as well as the Dravidian temple architecture for the one set in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Source notes are included. The collection provides a good introduction to Indian folklore and could be enjoyed as a read-aloud by younger children, while students in the intermediate grades can enjoy them independently.
Monika SchroederCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.