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Friday, February 18, 2011

Brahma Vaivarta Purana, how the Hindu god Ganesh came to have the head of an elephant

Brahma Vaivarta Purana,  how the Hindu god Ganesh came to have the head of an elephant

Elephant Prince: The Story of Ganesh [Hardcover]
Amy Novesky (Author), Belgin K. Wedman (Author)

Editorial Reviews
From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 4 - Novesky retells the less-popular but authentic version of how the Hindu god Ganesh came to have the head of an elephant. Basing her text on the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, she recounts how the lovely goddess Parvati fell in love with the blue-skinned god, Shiva, and longed to have his child. After a year, a baby is born, but when the gods come to celebrate, Parvati insists that the god Shani look upon her son, forgetting that whatever he looks upon is destroyed. When the baby's head turns to ash, the god Vishnu restores him to life by replacing the head with that of an elephant. Parvati tells the story to the Elephant Prince as he sits on her lap, and the constancy of her love and affection is captured beautifully in both text and illustrations. Wedman's watercolor, gouache, and gold-leaf illustrations have a shimmering loveliness and are replete with charming details. Harish Johari and Vatsala Sperling's How Ganesh Got His Elephant Head (Bear Cub, 2003) is based on the other version of this tale, in which Parvati creates Ganesh herself to guard her privacy, and its lengthier narrative is more suited to older readers. Elephant Prince is a welcome addition to folklore shelves. - Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ 

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 

From Booklist
PreS-Gr. 2. Glittering gouache paintings reminiscent of classic Indian miniatures illustrate this retelling of a Hindu myth about how the god Ganesh was born and acquired his elephant head. Novesky's straightforward text is accessible and well-paced for read-alouds. But it's the shimmering artwork that will really attract attention. Working in the saturated palette of gemstones and tropical flowers, Wedman paints exquisitely detailed scenes set in lush gardens, forests, and palaces, which make the story's magical, dramatic shape-shifting and cast of gods and mortals feel close and real. A fine addition to mythology and religion shelves. For another take on the myth, suggest Harish Johari and Vatsala Sperling's How Ganesh Got His Elephant Head (2003). Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

This review is from: Elephant Prince: The Story of Ganesh (Hardcover) 

I have been searching for children's books that present the Hindu gods and goddesses and this is by far the best of all that I have found. This is a beautiful book that matches authenticity with contemporary sensibilities. My four year old appreciates this one as much as I do. I have found that with many books retelling stories from Hindu texts, the story is often presented in a way that is inaccessible to young children. Here the story has been retold beautifully. In this version, it is not Shiva who cuts off Ganesh's head but Shani's gaze that turns the head to ashes. While this is not the most popular version, and may be a disappointment to some, it is 'authentic' and the source is cited. I think this makes the story a better read for my young daughter. Additionally, I really like the way that Parvati is presented as a goddess, a princess and "also just a girl." Beyond the story, the art is wonderful. Take one of your best children's books and imagine how it would look with a Hindu flare and that is what you will get here. The art is engaging and the images are detailed enough to keep a child's eye but not overly complicated. The authenticity of the presentation is very respectful. I would highly recommend this book as an introduction to one of the children's favourite Hindu gods, Ganesh, and as an excellent children's book for anyone interested in plurality and multiculturalism. I hope that the authors will collaborate again for more tales of the gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon.

This review is from: Elephant Prince: The Story of Ganesh (Hardcover) 

Elephant Prince: The Story Of Ganesh will serve to entertainingly introduce the elephant headed Hindu god to young readers ages 4 to 8. Belgin K. Wedman's superb illustrations are a perfect story-telling showcase to talented children's author Amy Novesky's story set in the Himalayas during a time of gods and goddesses. Elephant Prince does not recount the commonest version of Ganesh's origin, in which Parvati creates a child from earth and her husband Shiva is so surprised by the stranger he cuts the boy's head off; instead, Elephant Prince draws upon a classic Indian text entitled "Brahma Vaivarta Purana" to present a version in which Parvati wishes for a child and to her delight has her wish granted, yet tragedy strikes when the god Shani (Saturn) accidentally destroys the child's head, for whatever powerful Shani gazes upon is instantly obliterated. The merciful god Vishnu brings the boy back to life with the aid of a wise old elephant, who chooses to sacrifice himself so that the child may be restored. And so Ganesh lives again with the head of an elephant, and becomes skilled at writing down stories. The elephant will live forever, and Ganesh lives and is loved by all - especially his mother. The stunning watercolor artwork with gold leaf highlights was deliberately created in style of the Kangra school of painting, developed in India during the 16th century. Highly recommended.

This review is from: Elephant Prince: The Story of Ganesh (Hardcover) 

Elephant Prince: The Story Of Ganesh will serve to entertainingly introduce the elephant headed Hindu god to young readers ages 4 to 8. Belgin K. Wedman's superb illustrations are a perfect story-telling showcase to talented children's author Amy Novesky's story set in the Himalayas during a time of gods and goddesses. Elephant Prince does not recount the commonest version of Ganesh's origin, in which Parvati creates a child from earth and her husband Shiva is so surprised by the stranger he cuts the boy's head off; instead, Elephant Prince draws upon a classic Indian text entitled "Brahma Vaivarta Purana" to present a version in which Parvati wishes for a child and to her delight has her wish granted, yet tragedy strikes when the god Shani (Saturn) accidentally destroys the child's head, for whatever powerful Shani gazes upon is instantly obliterated. The merciful god Vishnu brings the boy back to life with the aid of a wise old elephant, who chooses to sacrifice himself so that the child may be restored. And so Ganesh lives again with the head of an elephant, and becomes skilled at writing down stories. The elephant will live forever, and Ganesh lives and is loved by all - especially his mother. The stunning watercolor artwork with gold leaf highlights was deliberately created in style of the Kangra school of painting, developed in India during the 16th century. Highly recommended

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