Thursday, February 18, 2010

Song of the Earth

Title : Song of The Earth
Author : Mary Hoffman
Illustrated by : Jane Ray
Published by : Orion Children’s Books

An exquisite narration of - 'The Song of The Earth' - the song which has been sung since the very initiation of times, but has long been forgotten by us owing to the big fissure that has crept up between us and the fundamental elements of our existence - Earth, Fire, Water and Air. Nonetheless, the magic of these indispensable elements remain unadulterated. These are everywhere in great opulence but make their presence felt more prominently at the significant junctures of creation (birth) and destruction (death).

A brilliant attempt by Mary Hoffman to make the song of the earth audible to all and to bring people more closer to their elements of existence. An effort in the pursuit to make us feel more reverence for the things which are made available to us by these elements in the form of - produce(of mother earth), (fire's )energy, the life-giving quality(of water) and source of life( - air). If we realize that these elements are the very basis of our subsistence, we will be more cautious while exploiting them. The book invites us to be a part in the celebration of the charisma of Earth, Fire, Water and Air by joining in the song of Earth.

Each element is dealt with separately in individual sections touching various aspects. The age old myths and legends and the association of various mystical figures with the elements are weaved beautifully into the narrative. The life-giving qualities of these elements are cited and then the contrasting life-taking abilities are divulged - earthquakes, untamed good servant - fire - turning into a bad master, storms and floods, and hurricanes, tornados, typhoons and whirlwinds.

Each section is concluded by succinctly making the readers aware of the misuse and ill-treatment done to the very components of our existence and how we can contribute to keep their magic intact forever. It was interesting to see a brief mention of Chipko(hug-the-tree) movement as a small step towards solving a bigger problem. Under sections on Water and Air there are references of our own - holy river Ganga and mythological winged creature Jatayu.

Illustrations by Jane Ray are clear, simple and beautiful. All details presented in the text are wonderfully brought forward through the pictures on all pages.

To be read and enjoyed by all age groups - a true keepsake.
{Image source : Amazon}
Review crossposted on Literary Sojourn


Choxbox said...

Sounds awesome - not surprising since its Mary Hoffman of Amazing Grace that we are talking about!

Btw there is this beautiful CBT book called 'The Adventures of the Five Elements'. Pick it up, bet you'll love it.

Vibha said...

ChoxBox: Thanks for telling about 'The Adventures of the Five Elements'. Will surely look for it.


Lavs said...

I have been away from this place for abt 3 weeks and you guys have reviewed a hundred thousand books in the meantime. Clap clap Clap!!!

Lots of new people on board abt one post abt all team members of ST, their background and their passion (apart from books).

sandhya said...

Vibha: Liked this one very much. Have to look it up.
Choxbox: Where do you pick up your books? I looked for Amazing grace after I read about it in your post. None of the stores have anything by Mary Hoffman.

Choxbox said...

Sandhya: Had got 'Amazing Grace' and all the sequels from charity shops in London. In mint condition - all for less than 1 GBP.

sandhya said...

Choxbox: (Going green!) I'm going to borrow them.
On second thoughts, I'm going to come and raid your collection.

Vibha said...

ChoxBox : lucky you ;) Even I could not find Amazing Grace :(

Lavs ~ Sure, will soon post story of my life.

Sandhaya ~ Crossword (Residency Road) had only one copy of this book and that too in very dilapidated condition, I was not ready to leave it and wait for a fresh copy.

Sheela said...

Quite an interesting pick, Vibha, thanks!

Anusha said...

absolutely adore any book that celebrate the natural elements...goes on my list right now. thanks for a lovely review, Vibha!

Vibha said...

Thanks KM. You will surely enjoy this book :)

Praba Ram said...

Fascinating, Vibha. Echoing Kodi's Mom on the point about books that celebrate earth.

Thanks! Will check it out.

sandhya said...

Yippee! Got this one yesterday from Crossword. It's a beautiful book, Vibha. Just the illustrations made me speechless. A has hogged it so am waiting for my turn. Thanks for this one.

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