The Broken Tusk: Stories of the Hindu God Ganeshaby Uma Krishnawsami
This collection of Hindu folktales for middle readers features stories about the Hindu god, Ganesha, who is easily recognized because of his elephant head. Krishnaswami introduces the stories by recalling her own introduction to Ganesha and goes on to offer a mythological context for the tales. Included among these classic stories are "Ganesha's Head", "The Broken Tusk", and "Why Ganesha Never Married". Most of the stories come from Hindu legend; one comes from Mongolia, where Ganesha made his way into the Buddhist tradition. The simple pen-and-ink illustrations support the themes and a helpful pronunciation guide and glossary are also included.
Useful prefatory sections on the whole of Hindu mythology point out that the stories continue to be living cultural and spiritual entities in a way that tales from Greek or Norse mythologies are not, aiming to inculcate a way of life that includes ideas from the Hindu faith. The focus on Ganesha happily clarifies the swirling complexity of Hindu tradition while also enabling readers to empathize with this most likable and humorous god. The question that springs immediately to many readers' mindswhy an elephant's head?is entertainingly addressed in the first tale, along with the notions of reincarnation and filial responsibility. The latter notion expands in the next story, a clever narrative dealing with the relationship of child to parent. The book also includes one tale, "The Birth of Phagpa," from the Buddhist tradition of Mongolia. Throughout, black-and-white illustrations depict Ganesha's childlike charm, even when he's under duress or stress, or in the throes of heartbreak. This book opens perceptual doors to a great and still vital Eastern traditiona gift indeed.
Meet the Author
Uma Krishnaswarmi Bio: Uma Krishnaswami is a popular author of picture books and novels for children, as well as a gifted writing teacher. She is recognized as a major voice in the expanding world of international and multicultural young adult fiction and children's literature. Her highly acclaimed collection of classic Hindu myths, Broken Tusk, is very accessible to middle readers and introduces them to classic stories from the Hindu tradition. Uma was born in New Delhi and is currently on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults.
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