Monday, December 27, 2010

T is for Taj Mahal

Bajaj, Varsha.  2011. T is for Taj Mahal: An India Alphabet.  Ill. by Robert Crawford. Ann Arbor, MI: Sleeping Bear Press.

T is for Taj Mahal is the latest in a series of country-themed books that includes A is for America, K is for Kabuki, and C is for Ciao, among others.  Each page or double-spread contains a large font letter in both upper and lower case, a simple sentence,
S is for Spices,
a short rhyme,
Cumin, turmeric, saffron -
all blended to appeal.
Lentils, beans, and veggies
make a fragrant meal.
and a lengthy, small font sidebar explaining the word concept in greater detail.

Some of the rhymes are not as smooth as others, but a slow reading will help.  The book's format allows for use by children of many ages.  The youngest of listeners can simply enjoy the letter and the primary sentence.  Older listeners can understand the rhymes; while independent readers can glean useful information for school country reports, etc.  Each page contains at least three paragraphs of facts (although the book is without source notes or references).

Robert Crawford's painted illustrations are beautifully evocative of a country that is home to imposing mountains, chic urban centers, lush clothing, simple culture, impressive monuments, and rich and varied religious and cultural history.  A movie star, a smiling child, a waving politician, a loving mother - these are all familiar to the reader, yet depicted in a distinctly Indian style.

There are more than one million people of Indian descent in the United States, and the U.S. welcomes many immigrants from the world's largest democratic state each year, so the addition of an Indian alphabet book is sure to be welcomed by many.  Its richly colored paintings and fascinating facts will make it a favorite of Indian-Americans and non Indians alike.

This book is part of the Discover the World series.  There is a companion website with books, recipes, games, maps and more. The site could be a great resource for the reading theme that many libraries will be using this summer, One World, Many Stories.


I reviewed a softcover laser proof.  I'm sure the pictures will be even more impressive in the finished product.


 Advance Copy supplied by the publisher.  Due on shelves in March. In the meantime, enjoy this photo of the Taj Mahal.

Description: Taj Mahal in Agra
Source: Library of Congress
Date: Published as a photochrom between 1890 and 1900 by Photoglob Z├╝rich
Licence: Public Domain




It's Nonfiction Monday again. Today we're meeting at Check it Out. (Note: It appears that Check it Out has not checked in...try later, perhaps)









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