Education and entertainment in a well-drawn, appealing first look into a major world religion.

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A young girl walks through a vivid, vibrant world of Hindu gods in this illustrated debut children’s book.

As Radhika sits underneath her favorite tree, she starts to gaze upward, admiring the winged seeds of the tree that flutter down and through the wind. As she watches each seed get carried away or simply fall to the ground, she is struck with a question: Why doesn’t every single seed produced by a tree become a tree itself? This line of questioning begins her journey through a rich parable featuring Hindu gods. On the journey, Radhika learns of the elements of the world—space, air, fire, water and earth—and of the gods that represent these elements. Visiting Ganesha, Agni, Proothvi, Durga and many more, Radhika begins to understand the act of being grateful, the dichotomy and necessity of being both happy and sad, and how life is shaped by awe, grace, respect and love. Annan’s charming debut features colorful illustrations that are bright and inviting, as well as engaging, informational prose that should be easy for children to understand—a difficult line to walk with such a complicated subject. At the end of the work, Radhika is bursting with knowledge and ready to go forth and apply all that she’s learned, which should carry over into the lives of interested readers. All in all, the work offers a commendable introduction to the world of Hindu gods and the religion’s main tenets, especially for children who practice other doctrines.

Education and entertainment in a well-drawn, appealing first look into a major world religion.

Pub Date: May 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-1490424330

Page Count: 44

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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