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A California Collection Selection

Savitri
A Tale of Ancient India

Retold by Aaron Shepard
Illustrated by Vera Rosenberry

1997 & 2000 California Collection Selection (California Readers)

General Info
Reviews
Sample Text

Beauty and intelligence were the princess Savitri’s, and eyes that shone like the sun. So splendid was she that people thought her a goddess. When at last she found a man worthy to wed her, no one could sway her from her heart’s path—not even the god of death.

This lovely retelling presents a classic tale of devotion, courage, wit, and will from India’s national epic, The Mahabharata.

Picture book • Ages 7 & up

Aaron Shepard

Aaron Shepard is the award-winning author of The Baker’s Dozen, The Sea King’s Daughter, The Monkey King, and many more children’s books, while his Web site is known internationally as a prime resource for folktales, storytelling, and reader’s theater. Once a professional storyteller, Aaron specializes in lively retellings of folktales and other traditional literature, which have won him honors from the American Library Association, the New York Public Library, the Bank Street College of Education, the National Council for the Social Studies, and the American Folklore Society.

Vera Rosenberry, a prolific children’s book illustrator and author, was born in the U.S. but now lives in the U.K. She was especially interested in illustrating this book because her husband is from India and grew up with tales from The Mahabharata.


Albert Whitman
Hardcover ~ 1992

Other Editions
Indian languages—Mantra Publishing (UK), 1997
Korean—Montessori Korea, 2006

Amazon | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU
Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Book Depository



Reviews

“Unique and noteworthy. . . . Shepard breathes new life into the sleeping archetype of the Indian heroine. Like ancient heroic myth, [Shepard’s interpretation] renews deep strains of potential within the reader.”—Publishers Weekly, Mar. 9, 1992

“A smooth retelling.”—Kirkus Reviews, Feb. 1, 1992

“Delicately rendered in both adaptation and illustration. . . . A book that will open children’s eyes and ears to an unfamiliar lore, and provide rich contrast to Western parallels.”—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Feb. 1992

“Profoundly moving.”—Children’s Bookwatch, July 1992

“Will enhance the social studies curriculum.”—Children’s Book Review Service, July 1992

“Reads aloud very well. . . . Readers will enjoy the perspicacity and tenacity of this feisty heroine [and] be fascinated by the uniquely Indian cultural details.”—School Library Journal, May 1992

“Portrays a woman of great intelligence and courage, as well as virtue. . . . The story and pictures show great sensitivity to Hindu lore and culture.”—Deva and Gayatri Rajan, Hinduism Today

“Powerfully told, with a magic all its own. Savitri’s purity of spirit will touch the hearts of all readers, young and old.”—Meera Lester, India West, Sept. 25, 1992

“A sure candidate for the [California] 6th-grade ancient cultures unit.”—BayViews (Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California), Dec. 1992

“Rich and empowering.”—Rebecca Myers, A. B. Bookman’s Weekly, Nov. 9, 1992

“Fresh and respectful. . . . Could be useful as an introduction to Indian classics for young adult readers, in a course on ancient cultures, or in any broad-based collection.”—Fran Stallings, Territorial Tattler, Fall 1993

“Powerful.”—Elaine Weischedel, Lanes Museletter, June 1993

“Shepard writes with an ear for the spoken word.”—The Story Bag Newsletter, Apr.-May 1994

“Looking for a painless dose of Hindu mythology? Here it is, with beautiful illustrations to boot.”—Ours (Adoptive Families of America), July-Aug. 1993

“A lyrical retelling of a beloved Indian tale. Savitri offers vivid and exotic details that make it uniquely memorable.”—Wendy E. Betts, Notes from the Windowsill, Vol. 2, No. 144


Sample Text

Hear This Sample Text (1:48 minutes)

Beauty and intelligence were the princess Savitri’s, and eyes that shone like the sun. So splendid was she, people thought she herself was a goddess. Yet, when the time came for her to marry, no man asked for her.

Her father told her, “Weak men turn away from radiance like yours. Go out and find a man worthy of you. Then I will arrange the marriage.”

In the company of servants and councilors, Savitri traveled from place to place. After many days, she came upon a hermitage by a river crossing. Here lived many who had left the towns and cities for a life of prayer and study.

Savitri entered the hall of worship and bowed to the eldest teacher. As they spoke, a young man with shining eyes came into the hall. He guided another man, old and blind.

“Who is that young man?” asked Savitri softly.

“That is Prince Satyavan,” said the teacher, with a smile. “He guides his father, a king whose realm was conquered. It is well that Satyavan’s name means ‘Son of Truth,’ for no man is richer in virtue.”

When Savitri returned home, she found her father sitting with the holy seer named Narada.

“Daughter,” said the king, “have you found a man you wish to marry?”

“Yes, father,” said Savitri. “His name is Satyavan.”

Narada gasped. “Not Satyavan! Princess, no man could be more worthy, but you must not marry him! I know the future. Satyavan will die, one year from today.”

The king said, “Do you hear, daughter? Choose a different husband!”

Savitri trembled but said, “I have chosen Satyavan, and I will not choose another. However long or short his life, I wish to share it.”

Sample text copyright © 1992 Aaron Shepard. Top illustration courtesy of Albert Whitman & Company. Illustration copyright © 1992 by Vera Rosenberry.


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visit Aaron Shepard at
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