Book Review: Ramayana Divine Loophole
By Aruna Bewtra
As embarrassing as it is to admit this, before I had my daughter, I really did not know much about the Ramayana. During our first Diwali in India, our daughter began to ask us more in-depth questions about Ram and Sita, which neither my husband nor I could answer. One day, my husband came home with Ramayana Divine Loophole, written and lushly illustrated by Sanjay Patel. We read the book together over the course of a few weeks, and not only was this story for kids engaging for all three of us, it was a great introduction to the Hindu epic.
Sanjay Patel is a Pixar animator and storyboard artist who has worked on, among other movies, Toy Story 3, Monsters Inc, and A Bug’s Life. The book has more than 150 gorgeous, full-page illustrations, each with vivid colours. The story is told in small segments on each page, surrounded by illustration, which help bring the mythological characters to life.
As this is a retelling and a story for kids, not an actual translation, it does not have every detail of the epic poem. However, the main story is told in an engaging and simple way that will help keep children interested. The book takes us from Rama’s birth, his exile with Sita, her kidnapping by the demon Ravana, to her eventual rescue and their homecoming. It also includes a glossary of the characters with a full-page illustration of each and an illustrated, geographic map of Rama’s journeys. Finally, there is also a section where the author describes his process of sketching and colouring the illustrations.
The incredible illustrations and simple story for kids would make this perfect bedtime reading for children aged five and above. As some of the pictures depict battles and demons, you may want to wait on this story for toddlers. All in all, it’s a fun, technicolor way to introduce Hindu mythology to your children. You can find the book here.