ALL THE WAY TO LHASA by Barbara Helen Berger


A Tale from Tibet
adapted by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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In a simple retelling of a Tibetan parable, two travelers journey across Tibet to Lhasa: one in haste on horseback and the other slowly plodding on foot accompanied by his yak. On the way, each traveler asks an old woman, “How far is it to Lhasa?”—and each time the old woman replies, “Very far.” The rider is told that he’ll never make it before night and the boy on foot is assured that he will reach Lhasa by nightfall, and he does, whereas the rider on horseback falls and fails. Berger’s (Angels on a Pin, 2000, etc.) familiar dreamlike style and characters are a likely pairing in creating a mystical atmosphere. The striking maroon borders frame and contrast the heavenly setting, echoing the color of the old woman’s robe. Double-spread acrylic, colored pencil, and gouache clouds, rushing torrents of water, and snow-covered mountains fill up and spill out from one page to the next. The landscape, the architecture, and inclusion of the flowers, prayer flags, stones with carved prayers, and Chupa (the traditional coat worn by the traveler on horseback) define place and culture. With otherwise such attention to detail, it is curious that the old woman is clothed in a manner (shawl over the shoulder) usually exclusive to ordained monks and male teachers, not lay people. Faintly reminiscent of the Tortoise and the Hare fable, the lack of interaction among the participants creates a sense of remoteness that is less than compelling, though it does reinforce the theme of a personal quest. Quietly inspiring. (Picture book/folktale. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-399-23387-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2002


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