Classic Tales from India: How Ganesh Got His Elephant Head and Other Stories | Book Review

Book Review of Classic tales From India
The Children’s Book Review

Classic Tales of India: Book Cover

Written by Vatsala Sperling and Harish Johari

Illustrated by Pieter Weltevrede, Nona Weltevrede, and Sandeep Johari

Ages 5-11 | 240 Pages

Publisher: Bear Cub Books | ISBN-13: 9781591433866

What to expect: Multi-cultural traditional stories and history

This exciting book of traditional Indian stories is a complete gem. Immersive and detailed tales, gorgeous illustrations, and exciting heroes and heroines make Classic Tales from India a great pick for your reader’s next adventure.

Begin your journey with a Cast of Characters section. In this comprehensive and illustrated guide, young readers and adults can learn about the different characters, who they are, what their names are, and images of what they look like. This is especially helpful for children unfamiliar with traditional Indian stories. Those images are also cross-referenced with stories in the book so that readers can flip back and forth for clarity.

The first story is How Ganesh Got His Elephant Head. Featuring Parvati, Shiva, and Parvati’s son Ganesh, readers are swept away on an exciting journey. Then there is the story of Ganga, or the river Ganges, as well as stories about Ram the Demon Slayer and tales from the famous epic poem, the Ramayana. Originally written in Sanskrit, the poem features the story of Hanuman, a monkey with magical powers. There are dozens of stories and tales nested within each section, each with a different theme.

The illustrations are made with traditional Indian methods, utilizing tempera paint and watercolors that give the book a truly authentic feel. After each section, there is a guide for parents and teachers that helps to explain the story and its inherent lessons.

Classes and families will find Classic Tales from India an exciting dive into the rich and vibrant cultural stories of India.

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About the Authors and Illustrators

Vatsala Sperling, Ph.D., a native of India, learned these stories at her mother’s feet and enjoys introducing them to children of the Western world. She lives in Vermont.

Harish Johari (1934-1999) was a painter, sculptor, and composer of Indian music. He authored many books that bring Eastern spiritual traditions to Western audiences, including Chakras: Energy Centers of Transformation.

Pieter Weltevrede is an artist who began his studies with Harish Johari in 1977 and also studied with Shri Chandra Bal. He lives in Holland.

Nona Weltevrede got in touch with Indian culture at a young age by watching his father, Pieter, and his mentor, Harish Johari, paint. He lives in Buren, Holland.

Sandeep Johari was raised by his uncle Harish Johari, who taught him classical Indian painting. He lives in New Delhi, India.

Classic Tales from India: How Ganesh Got His Elephant Head and Other Stories was reviewed by Denise Mealy. Discover more books like Classic Tales from India by following our reviews and articles tagged with Cultural Wisdom, and India.

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November 11, 2021 at 09:37PM Denise Mealy