Wednesday, October 28, 2009
BALARAMA: A ROYAL ELEPHANT- Ted and Betsy Lewin
Ted and Betsy Lewin have spent their lives travelling the world, collecting stories and creating beautiful picture books. Their latest book, BALARAMA: A ROYAL ELEPHANT. For this book, the Lewins travel to southern India, to meet Drona, the lead royal elephant in an annual parade held in celebration of Dasara, a centuries-old royal and religious festival. The Lewins are so taken with Drona, that they decide they must return the next year for the parade.
Unfortunately, sometime that year, Drona is electrocuted when a branch he is eating touches an electrical wire. When the Lewins return to India, they meet Balarama, the newest lead elephant. This book chronicles the Balarama's role in parade in words, but maybe more importantly, in Ted Lewin's glorious, glorious, glorious watercolor illustrations. The pictures are so real that I feel like I'm right there watching the parade. Wow, wow, wow!
An appendix contains lots of helpful nonfiction text tools to share with kids. There's a list of interesting facts (did you know, for instance, that elephants' trunks contain tens of thousands of individual muscles, or that elephants are left or right-tusked, just like humans are left or right-handed?). There's also a pictorial comparison of Asian and African elephants, and a short bio of the five most recent lead elephants in the Mysore Dasara celebration.