Books by Rabindranath Tagore

AMAL AND THE LETTER FROM THE KING by Rabindranath Tagore
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 15, 1992

``Men of learning always stay inside,'' says housebound Amal's uncle, hoping to persuade the child that the illness preventing him from playing outside will someday be an advantage. But Amal craves everything about the world beyond, from flowers brought by a village girl to the vistas on Heron Island. Through his window, he talks with passersby, hoping to learn what he is missing. Finally, word comes that the king himself is coming to take Amal for a journey by elephant, and the boy sinks blissfully, painlessly, into sleep—perhaps forever. Here, unfortunately, a contrived, overdone sense of mystery may make young readers feel as claustrophobic as Amal. And Ong's light- drenched paintings—while rooting the tale in its Indian setting- -fail to offset the heavy-handed tone of a text taken out of context (The Post Office, a play). Ultimately, the allegory raises far more questions than answers on weighty issues beyond the ken of the picture book audience—like associating book knowledge, imagination, and the life of the mind with the confining indoors, while the real world of experience is all but missing. (Picture book. 7-11) Read full book review >
PAPER BOATS by Rabindranath Tagore
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 31, 1992

Like Locker's paintings for a few words from Moby Dick (Catskill Eagle, p. 1091), a visual extension of a brief quote from a well-known author. ``Day by day,/I float my paper boats one by one,/Down the running stream,'' begins this quiet, gently philosophical poem by the winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize for Literature, who returned to teach in India after his British schooling. Like the Native American in Holling's Paddle-to-the- Sea (1941), this Indian boy imagines his frail craft's journey, but his thoughts are more imaginative—they concern the wind that also moves the clouds and ``the fairies of sleep'' that board the boats in his dreams. In a promising debut, Bochak provides attractive collages of torn and cut paper of various textures, arranged so that their shadows contribute to the careful compositions; her skillful blend of earth tones and sunset hues and the boy's posture and intent face effectively reflect the poem's ruminative flavor. Not an essential purchase, but an appealing idyll. (Poetry/Picture book. 3-8) Read full book review >