Reviews for Gandhi


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 June 2001
Gr. 3-6, younger for reading aloud. Beginning with Gandhi's failure as a student in India, this well-written biography traces Gandhi's life, from his first rallies against prejudice in South Africa to his remarkable victory over colonialism in India, rounding out the image with mention of his inability to unite India and Pakistan. With extraordinarily detailed illustrations, decorated with gold leaf; and accessible, flowing text, veteran artist-author Demi reveals how a simple man who spun his own cloth became one of history's most important political and spiritual leaders. Children will be left with several lasting images of Gandhi, but none so moving as the depiction of the 14 items Gandhi possessed when he died. Demi twice refers to the Bhagavad Gita as "India's holy book" (it is not the holy book of India, as many Muslims will attest), but this is still a powerful portrait of a remarkable life, a story-time treasure about one of the twentieth century's true heroes. ((Reviewed June 1 & 15, 2001)) Copyright 2001 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2002 Spring
In this tale about a spiritual and political leader, Demi's stylistic richness honors and celebrates Gandhi's commitment to a spare life. Each exquisitely rendered miniature painting in this attentively designed book is bordered by two complementary narrow bands of colors, and then enframed with gold. [cf2]Gandhi[cf1] may well inspire young readers to seek out more of the complex history of this remarkable humanitarian. Copyright 2002 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2001 #5
Demi brings to her text of Gandhi the same deep respect and unqualified regard that she bestowed on the Dalai Lama (rev. 3/98). Her stylistic richness in this tale about another spiritual and political leader, far from violating Gandhi's commitment to a spare life, honors and celebrates it. Demi's signature gold is used with appropriate restraint. It decorates the bindings of several books that the gentlemanly Gandhi carries on a London street, the structure and wheels of the opulent train from which Gandhi is thrown when he refuses to leave his first-class compartment, the spinning wheel with which Gandhi weaves his own cloth, the bars of the jail that hold the ascetic Gandhi imprisoned, the flames that will consume his cremated body. Demi uses white with equal effect: anticipating the white cloth that would robe Gandhi and his followers, Demi is careful to associate it with freedom and independence in the first pictures-white sails billow on distant ships, oxen laze peacefully on the streets and in gardens. Each exquisitely rendered miniature painting in this attentively designed book is bordered by two complementary narrow bands of colors, and then enframed with gold. Demi's Gandhi may well inspire young readers to seek out more of the complex history of this remarkable humanitarian who dedicated his life "to root out the disease of prejudice, but never to yield to violence and never to use violence against others." Copyright 2001 Horn Book Magazine

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Kirkus Reviews 2001 August #2
Demi (The Emperor's New Clothes, 2000, etc.) emphasizes the self-transforming powers that enabled Gandhi to change from frightened child to English gentleman to tongue-tied lawyer to ultimate servant of mankind with unshakable faith in the force of nonviolence and love. Perhaps because this is an overview, Demi gets the chronology of events right, but is less successful at bringing to life the man who's widely regarded as one of the most influential of the 20th century and translating his philosophy into a compelling story. There are big themes to tackle: civil rights, the caste system, Satyagraha, Jainism, not to mention the socio-political milieu of turn-of-the century South Africa and colonial India. Though not without dramatic incident, this is of necessity, weighted with philosophy and brief definitions. And Gandhi, as one of the grand electrifying figures on the human stage, might have benefited from more expressive storytelling. In the delicate balancing act necessitated by presenting a "saint," this veers perilously close to hagiography. Fortunately, the illustrations, though formal in presentation, present Gandhi more dramatically. Executed in Demi's signature style, many are based on actual photographs. Some, like the Yeravada Jail, in which Gandhi began an important fast, would benefit from captions, and the action presented in others is not always made clear in the text. Lavish and rich in color, detail, and design, though, Demi's style is both appropriate to the setting and particularly successful in depicting the diminutive Gandhi in his simple white garb symbolically isolated or in a throng. A note expands on Gandhi's significance, but does little to document the authority of the work. Nevertheless, a heartfelt, handsome, and uplifting treatment for those who already have prior background and interest. (Biography. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2001 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2001 September #3
The highlight of this portrait of Gandhi is Demi's (Buddha) artwork, featuring gold borders and accents, splashes of brilliant color and small-scale images. With their fine balance of simplicity and elegance, the paintings gracefully reflect their subject. Readers aware of Gandhi's lasting influence may be surprised to learn that he was a small, shy boy and a weak student who barely graduated from high school and failed classes in college. Demi traces his transformation, as a law student in London, into an English gentleman and his years practicing law in South Africa, where he first encountered racism. At that point he became "determined to root out the disease of prejudice" this would plant the seeds for his life's work. Returning to India, he used nonviolent tactics to fight against its rigid caste system and oppressive British rule. The formal prose occasionally becomes awkward and a bit overblown (e.g., "Gandhi and his followers worked to accept the good and bad in life, to meet challenges with humility and calm, and to bring harmony to the world"). But the author's passion for her subject comes through ("It is my own great hope that we will all try to live our lives in Gandhi's honor in truth, peace, and love," she writes in an endnote) and may well inspire readers to learn more about this extraordinary leader. Ages 7-10. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2001 August
Gr 2-5-As she did in Buddha (1995) and The Dalai Lama (1998, both Holt), Demi depicts a life with significant spiritual and humanitarian dimensions. She focuses on the social and political goals of Gandhi's actions, but only after she presents the somewhat unlikely material out of which he fashioned a heroic version of himself. Insecure and unsuccessful, the young Gandhi also experienced prejudice firsthand. His central precepts, such as satyagraha ("the force of love"), are clearly products of his own life. The worldwide influence of the man is balanced with the tragic failure of peace in India. Demi's signature art-the fine lines, saturated colors, touches of gold-fits her subject. A rich carpet pattern effectively serves as backdrop for several figures, especially for a white-robed Gandhi. Some scenes are busy, crowded, and bright, but simplicity is the keynote in others. A bold perspectival depiction of a steam train at night, with the tiny (marginalized) figure of Gandhi, ejected for asserting his rights, is powerful both in design and as a symbol of the forces of imperialism and racism. The message of this book-that peaceful love triumphs over violent hatred-is alone worth its purchase price. Demi's iconic illustrations and clear prose accord her subject's idealism the beauty and power it deserves.-Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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