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Karna: The Greatest Archer in the World Hardcover – October 9, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A welcome introduction to other cultures for young readers, illustrated in a style reminiscent of traditional Indian artwork. . . . Highly recommended." (The Midwest Book Review, Nov 2007)

"The book is an excellent read. It addresses the problem faced by the adopted children who don't know their birth origin and are often discriminated." (Sunitha Jayan, Feminist Review)

"A skillful retelling of an old story!" (Skipping Stones )

" . . . such stories brought out from ancient Epic Mahabaharata will surely be helpful to all students who can learn the moral values of human life." (Shankerprasad S. Bhatt, author Prayers of All Religions of the World (three volumes))

" . . . raises many issues of right, wrong, and loyalty and abandonment in a gentle folk story packed with insights perfect for discussion." (Children's Bookwatch, The Midwest Book Review, Jan 08)

"Full of interesting characters and situations, the story is preceded by a useful cast of characters to help readers keep track of Karna's adventures. Colorful, traditional illustrations add interest to this long and detailed epic." (Venture Into Cultures, publication of the American Library Association, Nov 2008)

"This action-packed story introduces children to the heroic but flawed Karna. The dramatic retelling of a traditional story from India's ancient epic, Mahabharata, will capture the imaginations of children everywhere." (Awareness Magazine, Vol. 15, No. 4, Jul/Aug 2008)

"It introduces children to one of the most colorful characters of Hindu mythology, Karna, and his inner struggles. Karna, abandoned by his mother, encounters many issues, including knowing nothing about his adoptive or biological parents." (Parsa Choudhury, MultiCultural Review, Vol. 17, No. 1, Spring 08)

From the Back Cover

FOLKLORE

Karna The Greatest Archer in the World

When Princess Kunti is twelve years old she tries reciting a secret mantra for inviting the gods into her life. She gets more than she bargained for when the Sun himself swoops down out of the sky in a golden chariot and presents her with a baby. “Take him back,” she cries. “I’m not ready to be a mother!” But it’s too late; the Sun says the baby is her responsibility now. However, he points out the child’s golden earrings and the golden shield upon his chest and tells Kunti that as long he wears them, the child will be protected. Kunti tearfully puts the baby in a basket and sets him afloat on the river, where Adhiratha and Radha, a poor and childless couple, find him and take him in.

Karna: The Greatest Archer in the World introduces the reader to the heroic but humanly flawed character of Karna, who grapples with issues of right and wrong, truth and lies, loyalty and abandonment. It tells how Radha helps her adoptive son, Karna, solve the mystery of his birth; how she and her husband give Karna the courage to follow his heart in the study of archery; how Karna faces his birth mother in the final days of his brief but brilliant life; and how his loyalty to a friend and his unparalleled generosity and sense of honor ultimately cause him to give his own life so that good may triumph over evil.

Vatsala Sperling, Ph.D., fluent in a number of Indian ­languages and Sanskrit, learned these ­traditional stories at her mother’s feet and enjoys introducing them to children of the Western world. Before marrying and moving to the United States, she was the chief of Clinical Microbiological Services at the largest children’s hospital in India. She is the author of How Ganesh Got His Elephant Head, How Parvati Won the Heart of Shiva, Ram the Demon Slayer, and Hanuman’s Journey to the Medicine Mountain. She lives in Vermont with her husband and son.

Sandeep Johari was raised by his uncle Harish Johari, who taught him classical Indian painting. He used a traditional wash technique for the illustrations in Karna, combining transparent watercolors and opaque tempera paints in a multi-step process for each painting. He also illustrated Hanuman’s Journey to the Medicine Mountain and is the creative director in an advertising agency in New Delhi, India.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Grade Level: 1 - 6
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Bear Cub Books (October 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591430739
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591430735
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,285,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Vatsala Sperling, Ph.D., fluent in a number of Indian languages and Sanskrit, learned these traditional stories at her mother's feet and enjoys introducing them to children of the Western world. Before marrying and moving to the United States, she was the chief of Clinical Microbiological Services at the largest children's hospital in India. She is the author of How Ganesh Got His Elephant Head, How Parvati Won the Heart of Shiva, Ram the Demon Slayer, Hanuman's Journey to the Medicine Mountain, Ganga: The River that Flows from Heaven to Earth, and Karna: The Greatest Archer in the World. She lives in Vermont with her husband and son.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Karna: The Greatest Archer in the World is a children's picturebook based on a classic East Indian story from the Mahabharata. Karna: The Greatest Archer in the World is the story of a boy born to the Queen when she was much too young to care for a child; she sent him away, to be raised by poor and humble yet loving parents. He became entangled in a terrible war, and though the mystery of his birth was finally revealed, the truth came too late to prevent tragedy. Karna: The Greatest Archer in the World does not gloss over the sorrow, pain, and death present in the original Mahabharata tale, yet it also celebrates the brilliance, love, and loyalty in Karna's life. A welcome introduction to other cultures for young readers, illustrated in a style reminiscent of traditional Indian artwork; the text is sufficiently involved as to be on the level of chapter books. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
This story, taken from the Mahabharata, is from a very different culture and from an ancient time. Many aspects of this story and supernatural mythology may not be suitable for young children. Karna's story is a tragic one. His mother is a young princess and his father is the god of the sun. He begins his life as an orphan and abandoned, but he is found and raised by a very loving and poor couple, who have no children of their own. Being raised in a lower class prevents him from studying archery so he dresses himself as a Brahman and as a consequence when he is found out he is cursed by his teacher. He is later prevented from interning an archery contest because of his perceived class. His story is one of morality and of choices and of the consequences of those actions. Although, Karna is born with many talents, including skill in archery, and in spite of the fact that he tries to always do the right thing - fate seems again and again to be against him. He is generous to a fault. He falls in with the wrong crowd who have befriended him. He remains loyal to them and hindered by curses, he is killed on the battlefield. Karna's death at the end of the story is treated with respect.
There are many guides and explanations to help make the content of the story and it's context understandable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jaya on March 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is amazing to read. We are not from a Hindu background so the children and the parents in our family didn't know this story and I'm so happy that we do now!
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