In a retelling of the centuries-old Indian legend, The Jataka, a golden deer manages to protect his entire herd from the king's hunters.
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Grade 2-4-- Unlike the version of this tale found in Ellen Babbitt's Jataka Tales (Appleton-Century Crofts, 1940; o.p.), Hodges emphasizes the Buddhist origins of the story, limiting its audience to older readers than those usually attracted to the classic animal fables. This retelling concerns a king of Benares who loved to hunt and eat meat daily. Tired of having to accompany him into the forest, his subjects drive two herds of deer into a park, where the king can hunt by himself. Each herd is led by a golden stag, one of whom is an incarnation of Buddha; these animals are so magnificent that the king orders their lives be spared. The deer themselves decide that one should be chosen by lot each day and given to the hunter. When the lot falls to a young doe about to give birth, the Buddha stagsteps in to take her place. Unable to kill it and realizing its divine nature, the king agrees to protect all deer, as well as other four-footed creatures, birds, and fish. The text is not the smoothly flowing, compelling narrative of the earlier version; it is confusing due to the use of the flashbacks, awkward transitions, and flat language. The illustrations are stately--golden deer set against backgrounds of blues and grays, with the costumes of the Indian king and his cook adding bright color--yet they fail to capture the tension and emotion of the tale. --Diane S. Marton, Arlington County Library, VA
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In this reverent version of a Jataka tale, a magnificent stag known as the Banyan Deer goes willingly to sacrifice in place of a pregnant doe. When the king of Benares hears the deer speak, he releases it, pledging protection to its herd and to ``creatures of all kinds who live in fear of men.'' In turn, the deer agree to stay away from local farmers' fields. Long after, the Banyan Deer was reborn as the Buddha. San Souci's exact, brightly lit watercolors follow the story closely, capturing the grace and dignity of both the dappled golden deer and the theme of concern for all life. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 6-8) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Atheneum, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110684192187