Title: Great Jataka Tales
Author: A retelling by Noor Inayat Khan
Illustrator: Kalyani Ganapathy
Publisher: Talking Cub (Speaking Tiger Books)
Age Group: 8 years+ (publisher recommendation is 10 years+)
The book is a retelling of the famed Jataka Tales by Noor Inayat Khan who is said to be the great-grandniece of Tipu Sultan of Mysore.
The book starts with an introduction from the publisher that captures the author’s back story and the gist of Jataka Tales. The introduction in itself is an inspiring one to go ahead and give the stories a read.
This book is about tales of honesty and kindness. This book has stories revolving around animals and birds that make us wonder how “human” are we.
Each story is packed with values and comes with a learning but does not sound preachy. There is the story of a parrot that carries grains to its old parents; a master who tests his pupils with a strange activity assigned to them; a baby quail who is physically weak yet faces a forest fire courageously; a fairy Sakka, who comes to test the kindness of a hare; and many more.
If we were to call any of them our favourites, there are two. ‘The Young Parrot’ is a very simple story yet the moral sense of responsibility it evokes is profound. For example, this line that the parrot speaks, sums it all:
‘In that forest, those who are weak are helped by stronger ones, and those who hunger are given food’.
In the story, ‘The Monkey Bridge’, it’s so endearing to see how the Chief of the Monkeys takes a drastic step out of love for the other monkeys in the tree. It’s a great story on sacrifice, strength and mainly love.
Set in the laps of nature, each story gets the reader closer to the magic of nature and its creatures. The writing is endearing and comprehensible. The choice of font and line spacing is easy on the eyes.
The biggest plus of the book is the colourful illustrations by Kalyani Ganapathy. They make the stories come alive.
They are enchanting, colourful and magical. The illustrations are of the kind that may want you to grab a paper and colours and bring out the artist in you – even if it’s by just trying to replicate them.
These short stories are apt choices for bedtime stories. I recommend this book for children ages 8 and above for independent reading.
If you are looking for a warm read or stories to introduce tenderness and great values to your kids without being preachy, then this is the book to grab.
Disclaimer: We got this book as part of #kbcReviewerSquad and we feel happy and privileged to be part of it as we are free to have our opinions and give an honest review of the book.
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