cover image Sacred River

Sacred River

Ted Lewin. Clarion Books, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-395-69846-4

Lewin (The Reindeer People) illuminates this picture book about the Ganges River with some of his finest artwork to date. Inspired by a visit to Benares, the sweeping, full-spread watercolors reflect a familiarity with the locale-its riverbanks teeming with colorfully dressed people, its majestic stone architecture, its changing light. So atmospheric is the art that the heaviness of the air becomes almost palpable, the noise easily imagined. The text, unfortunately, does not equal the illustrations' strength and ambience. A prefatory note explaining the importance the Hindu religion places on a pilgrimage to Benares supplies background, and brief descriptive captions on each spread identify aspects of Hindu traditions. But there is no story-nor, consequently, many footholds here for youngsters. Ages 6-10. (Aug.)