Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

T is for Taj Mahal: An India Alphabet Book

T is for Taj Mahal: An India Alphabet Book

Varsha Bajaj
Illustrator:  Robert Crawford 
Nonfiction Picture Book  Series
For ages 6 to 10
Sleeping Bear Press, 2014   ISBN: 978-1585365043

India is a huge country full of great diversity. Its geography varies greatly, and the people who live in the different states, though they are all Indians, have their own languages and traditions. To the north are the great Himalayan mountains, and to the south the hot tropical jungles where elephants, tigers and monkeys can be found. There are deserts and great rivers, and the country has a history peppered with great civilizations, turmoil, and new beginnings.

   In this memorable alphabet book the author presents us with a topic for very letter of the alphabet, a topic that takes a look at some aspect of India’s remarkable history, geography or culture. A poem introduces the topic, and then a section of text in a sidebar explores that topic more fully. For example on the page for the letter C we learn that cricket was introduced to India by the British and is now a much loved game played by Indians of all ages. In the sidebar we learn the basic rules of the game, and in addition we read that Indians also have a deep fondness for field hockey and they have won six consecutive gold medals in the Olympic Games for this team sport.

   On the page for the letter F is read about the festivals that Indians celebrate during the year. There is Diwali, the festival of lights, and Holi, which is celebrated in the spring. Diwali takes place in the fall and lasts for five days. During this time people wear new clothes and exchange gifts, they eat special festive foods, and light little lamps and fireworks. Holi is when people celebrate the coming of spring by throwing colored powers and water at one another. It is a time when everyone, not just the children, can have some messy, colorful fun.

   This is one of the titles in the Discover the World series, published by Sleeping Bear Press. All the titles in the series are presented in alphabet book form and all of them give young readers a picture of a country. The poems and artwork will, in particular, appeal to younger children, while older readers will enjoy discovering interesting facts and information as they read the sections of informative text that appear on every page.