Minggu, 30 Januari 2011

Beautiful artwork and a great story

trailer Genghis Khan Illustrated Biography Demi

Genghis Khan Illustrated Biography Demi

Demi's "Genghis Khan" is a beautifully illustrated book depicting the life of the Great Khan.

The book is done in the style of medieval Timurid and Islamic histories. The artwork is exquisite, encompassing gold inlays contrasted with watercolors and detailed but elegant drawings. The illustrations themselves could tell the story alone.

Demi's book tells the story of a young Mongol named Temujin and his rise to become Genghis Khan, conqueror and ruler of the greatest land empire history has known. Written for school age kids, the text is simple and does not shy away from the harsh life of Genghis and the Mongols. It depicts Temujin's killing of his brother Bekter for stealing food (as the rest of the clan starved in exile) matter-of-factly. The author does not shy away from the reality of the Mongol conquests, depicting scenes of siege and warfare, but it is stated and then the story moves on to the next.

"Genghis Khan" is a great introduction to the man and the legend. This is the type of book that will fire kids' imagination and get them reading.

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5 komentar:

  1. In illustrations resembling medieval Middle Eastern manuscripts, Demi tells the story of Genghis Khan, one of history's most ruthless and efficient military leaders. Although his father was a powerful leader of the Yakka Mongols, his early death meant that Genghis was virtually abandoned by his people during his youth. But the determined boy gathered devoted followers to him, and eventually was able to recapture the leadership of his tribe. From that point, he unified the Mongols tribes and began conquering territory as vast as China, Persia, and parts of Eastern Europe.

    Demi's positive portrayal of Genghis Khan is unusual in the West, where his cruel, bloodthirsty side is usually emphasized. But it's important to remember that while Genghis Khan may have a poor reputation here, in other parts of the world - especially in Mongolia - he is respected and revered for his bravery, diplomacy and the introduction of a written script and low code to the region. I enjoyed the different perspective on Genghis Khan.

    The art is beautiful - the windswept steppes are painted with delicate watercolor washes that evoke the sky and landscape with a few expert brushstrokes. Gold is used throughout, often in great sheets to produce the color of the land, and the effect makes the book seem especially precious. The one oddity is that Khan's face remains virtually the same from cradle to grave - as he grows older, he gains facial hair but otherwise still looks like a child. This made it difficult to track how much time had passed, and his death at 67 seemed rather sudden because I didn't think he was yet nearly so old.

    BalasHapus
  2. Award-winning children's book author and artist Demi presents Genghis Khan, a picturebook rendition of the famous conqueror's life accompanied by stylized color illustrations. Geared toward a young audience, Genghis Khan does not dwell excessively upon the violence of the Mongol conquest, instead focusing upon the leadership, genius, and personal prowess of the man who made it possible - indeed, who led his people from the edge of survival to lordship over an empire. "His sons and grandsons Ogodei, Kuyuk, Mangu, and Kublai followed him as akhan and his great-grandnephew, Babur and Tamerlane, conquered India and Asia in the tradition of the mighty Genghis Khan. Then the power of the Mongols faded and vanished - as a star at dawn, as a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, as a phantom, as a dream, and as an illusion that is mistaken for the real thing!" The minimalist-style artwork is the perfect complement to this thoughtful portrait of a historical legend.

    BalasHapus
  3. I love that this book doesn't get too instructive. It is truly a story centered on the person of Temujin who later becomes Genghis Khan. There are many places where the author could have injected details to make it more like a school book, but it stays true to the narrative, allowing the reader to wonder about the details that are omitted. I can imagine this book being a great starting point for a unit study about Mongolia. The main character, although brutal, is also fair, brave, and in many ways very moral. Even as a boy he exhibits great courage in the face of overwhelming odds.
    Themes in the book: leadership, courage, integrity.
    The violence of the era is expressed in the story both through words and images, but it is not scary. There are spiritual elements in the story -- a god appears to Temujin (Genghis Khan).

    BalasHapus
  4. Genghis Khan is a problematic figure when teaching history to young children. Beyond a doubt, he is an important historical figure and children need to know something about him. Yet, Genghis Khan's legacy is one of brutal conquest and destruction. It is hard to make an argument that he did anything to advance civilization.

    The author/illustrator Demi does a very good job of reducing Genghis Khan's story to its key ingredients. While details are important, Demi does not overwhelm his young readers with too much information. My eight year old does not know enough of world history to really understand the magnitude of Ghenghis Khan's conquests. Demi's condensed and almost poetic narrative is beautifully matched with his illustrations. Demi's detailed but ethereal images remind me of the Central Asian style miniature painting. The images are fascinating and both parent and child will enjoy them. I am so impressed with this book that I am going out and purchasing additional Demi books. Highly recommended.

    BalasHapus