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by Betsy Maestro & illustrated by Giulio Maestro

Age Range: 7 - 11

Pub Date: Aug. 16th, 1996
ISBN: 0-395-62364-2
Publisher: Clarion

 An illustrated synopsis of the genesis and basic ideas of each of the world's major religions, as well as of some minor ones. Among the back matter is a list of sacred books, another of major festivals, and an interesting compilation of the various renderings of the Golden Rule, a form of which exists in almost all systems of belief. Betsy Maestro (with Giulio Maestro, The Discovery of the Americas, 1991, etc.) begins carefully, earnestly preaching the importance of diversity and balance, and taking for granted that religions are not handed down by deities but evolve from a people's own need to find meaning in life. She gallops through primitive religions, and hits her stride when she begins telling about the actual beliefs and histories of various cultures, beginning with the Chinese. Given the space limitations of the picture-book format, these are elegant and precise pieces. Giulio Maestro's beautiful illustrations are done in an array of styles, often reflecting the motifs and palettes of the culture under discussion. Most children will want to know more, but there is no bibliography nor list of further reading. Still, this is, in many ways, a revelatory work and a provocative introduction to a complicated subject. (index) (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-11)