Uma Krishnaswami, a writer and illustrator who lives in America has reviewed Amazing India for the Children's Literature Comprehensive Database.
India is a treasure trove of diversity on almost every front—artistic, historic, cultural, linguistic, geological, ecological, and more. Here is a paperback reference book that manages to pack an incredible range of facts and figures into just over 70 pages, along with a vast array of colorful spot illustrations, maps, and “fact file” sidebars. Organized by region, each spread deals with a single state, presenting a wide range of interesting tidbits of information about it.
The spread on mountainous Himachal Pradesh, for example, mixes landform and history by telling us that Punjab’s Beas river originates in the high passes of this state, and was probably called the Hyphasis by Alexander’s soldiers “who refused to go any further east from this point.” The capital in exile of the Dalai Lama, snow leopards, Nicholas Roerich and the Roerich Pact under which countries agree not to bomb each other’s cultural monuments, and a village that claims to be the home of the world’s oldest democratic system—all these find room in two densely packed pages on this one state.
Each one of the twenty-eight states and seven Union Territories is treated in this way, so that readers can learn in quick sequence about a chariot-shaped sun temple, prehistoric rock paintings, and the endangered Olive Ridley turtle. The back matter contains additional questions for the curious as well as two consumable pages for young travelers. While some of the text in the book assumes a basic knowledge of the country, much of it, presented in an encyclopedic format, will be fascinating even to readers for whom this is new material. Presented from an Indian perspective, Amazing India offers a refreshing take on a colorful, interesting part of the world.
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