Monday, November 6, 2017

#BookReview: The Boys Who Fought: The Mahabharata for Children by Devdutt Pattanaik

On the jacket:

‘When you can fight for the meek without hating the mighty, you follow dharma.’
In the forest, the mighty eat the meek. In human society, the mighty should take care of the meek. This is dharma. A hundred princes should look after their five orphaned cousins. Instead, they burnt their house, abused their wife and stole their kingdom. The five fought back, not for revenge but, for dharma. What came of the hundred’s fight against the five?
India’s favourite mythologist brings to you this charmingly illustrated retelling of the Mahabharata that is sure to illuminate and enthrall a new generation of readers.

Review:

My oldest memory of the Mahabharata was a picture book, sort of a comic with pictures and text next to them, which my father used to read out to me when I couldn't read. It was a post lunch ritual. It was read out to me so many times that I remembered the story by the pictures and if he even skipped a page or two out of boredom from reading it every day, I knew he'd skipped a part! I still remember all the pictures of the book - it, along with few other such books, was my first introduction to Hindu mythology.
That was in the 80s. Ever since, I've never seen the great stories simplified for children, or maybe children now aren't read the stories any more. Either way, Devdutt Pattanaik has made knowing, reading and enjoying these stories easier and more enjoyable with his art of precise storytelling and all the artwork.
In The Boys Who Fought, Pattanaik has told the story in his signature style with animated sketches which not only enthral but also captivated. Each page also has important tidbits and information which, because written separately, have more impact on the mind. Pages also have these boxes where children will derive basic yet important moral science lessons from. Pattanaik has also included in the book, information pertaining to different versions of the Mahabharata wherever applicable. The story is told in its broad sense and is ideal to acquaint children to the crux of the story. As they grow older, they can be introduced to the finer sections of the story.
Rating: 4.5/5




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