The Little Book of Hindu Deities: From the Goddess of Wrath to the Sacred Cow

Sanjay Patel, Author, Sanjay Patel, Illustrator
Sanjay Patel, Author, Sanjay Patel, Illustrator . Plume $14 (141p) ISBN 978-0-452-28775-4
Reviewed on: 09/25/2006
Release date: 12/01/2006
Paperback - 978-0-452-29246-8
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Don't mess with Kali, cautions Patel on the opening page of this arresting, innovative, entertaining book. Who knew the Hindu pantheon could be so much fun? Patel, an animator at Pixar studios, breathes new life into old mythology, telling the exploits of various deities while drawing us in—literally—with his joyous and unexpected full-color illustrations. In the introduction, he notes that he has always been influenced by Japanese animation, and his renderings bear the mark of the wide-eyed, large-headed, simple style that he so admires. The book is awash in color, with vivid saffrons, purples, fuchsias and oranges adding a lushness to the tales he recounts. Although some of the design work is too trendy to last—to wit, the oversized green and yellow polka dots that decorate some interstitial pages—it is precisely that faddish nod to the au courant that will make the book popular with teens and 20-somethings, who are the core audience ("Next time you're angry with your parents, don't turn into a monster," Patel jokes after introducing us to Bhairava, a vengeful incarnation of Shiva). Both funny and informative, this is a fresh and breezy introduction to the Hindu gods. (Nov.)

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