The Blue Jackal
Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (April 22, 2016)
Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.4 x 8.3 inches
From School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—This is a strong retelling of one of the tales from the Panchatantra, a third-century BCE text of Indian literature. This retelling from Sanskrit flows well and begs to be read aloud. It tells the tale of a bullied runt jackal who is accidentally dyed indigo and is subsequently mistaken for a king. He betrays himself by howling along with the other jackals. The rain washes away his indigo fur, but he retains the memory of having once been a king.
The story would be interesting as a group presentation and could lead to discussions regarding identity. The illustrations, which are the true standout here, will not work well in a large group, because of their intricate detail. They are done in the style of the Warli tribe of East India—white paintings done in rice flour on a dark background. They will intrigue children who have an eye for such things.
VERDICT This book fills a void in terms of Indian literature directed at children, but it will need an introduction or some promotion if it is going to circulate.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ