Summary: Grade 4 U: A graceful account of Buddha's life, from the prophecies preceding his birth to his death at age 80. Demi is attentive to historical information, legends, and the long and dearly held beliefs about Buddha. She describes his protected royal youth, his search for a way to end suffering, his enlightenment, and his compassionate teaching of the basic tenets of Buddhist faith, the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. The book also includes several parables, such as the well-known "The Blind Men and the Elephant." In characteristic vibrant colors and shimmering gold, Demi has painted visually engaging illustrations rich in Buddhist symbolism and artistic conventions. The pictures often overflow their gold borders or are set entirely outside their frames, as if floating beyond the confines of this life. The blended, gentle-hued watercolor backgrounds contrast with both the stark white of the pages and with the precise, detailed figures and scenes. The lovely, simple, descriptive language, together with the design and illustrations, combine dynamically so that the whole book is much more than the sum of its parts. Some readers will treasure this title, some will ponder on it, and all will learn from it. Susan Middleton, LaJolla Country Day School, CACopyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Notable Information: This piece of narrative nonfiction blends the effect of narrative writing with the information content of nonfiction. The illustrations and language adapt a complex subject into something accessible for younger readers. This nonfiction selection would pair nicely with other stories by Demi or Zen Shorts.