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Religious education

THE KINGFISHER BOOK OF RELIGIONS By Trevor Barnes. Kingfisher pound;16.99.

You are in a room with a dead body at night. It can't harm you but you feel nervous. Why? This famous conundrum is the starting point of what is a beautifully produced guide to selected aspects of the major faiths - a guide which begins by considering the questions religion tries to answer.

It covers not only the six world faiths that traditionally feature in such information books but also features the religions of Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome as well as Norse, Celtic, Aztec and Inca worship. Additionally, some attention is paid to modern age creeds.

Written by the religious broacaster Trevor Barnes, the text reads easily and naturally. He has the immediately accessible style of an experienced communicator and his prose is supplemented by many telling (and well captioned) photographs - each given ample space to make its point.

There does however seem some lack of logic. Why does Sikhism precede two much older faiths (Buddhism and Islam)? Why does Christmas follow several pages after the Crucifixion? Nor will every teacher want students to follow the spelling "Koran" rather than "Qur'an" and many will wish there were a fuller glossary. That said, it remains an enticing resource for key stage 3 and 4 students.

David Self

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