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Woodcock, George.

Illustrated by Toni Onley. Toronto, Lester & Orpen Dennys, c1985. 136pp, cloth, $29.95, ISBN 0-88619-067-3. CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Gary Robertson

Volume 14 Number 1
1986 January

This fine book by George Woodcock is an exquisite travelogue and history of the sub-continent of India. The author's many trips to this intriguing country supplies him with a wealth of detail that has been subsequently transcribed into vivid literary images of the landscape. Interwoven with this is a continuing reference to the historical characters who helped shape the development of each region travelled by the author.

Accompanying the text is a series of twenty-four watercolour painting reproductions by the Canadian master, Toni Onley. These ethereal images of walls, towers, temples, and forts allows an interesting, but transparent view, of the essence of Indian architecture. And herein lies one of the problems with the book. While receiving strong narrative images from the text, we are left with virtually no supportive detail from the paintings. By their very nature, they are Toni Onley masterpieces, but they are not very helpful in visualizing the land, the people, or the historical differences of historic architectural forms. A second problem comes to light if one uses this book as a source of information. The text gives a good geographical picture of the land, but historical references, while appropriate, are not chronological. Although this book would be difficult to use for reference at a high school level it is certainly worth reading, and the paintings are fine reproductions of a great artist's work.

Gary Robertson, Thom C.I., Regina, Sask.
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