Ramayana by Sanjay Patel
My favorite book as a kid was unquestionably D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths. I took it out of every branch of the Sacramento library, renewed it a hundred times and basically absorbed every story, hero, and diety. Though that's certainly set the bar Helios-high for illustrated takes on ancient tales, I could easily see illustrator and Pixar animator Sanjay Patel's new Ramayana: Divine Loophole entering the pantheon. As a retelling of the epic Hindu tale of Prince Rama (the seventh avatar of Vishnu), his bride Sita, the monkey god Hanuman, and the devliish Ravana, Patel scales the staggeringly long tome down to a digestible size withough loosing the richness of the narrative. And his illustrations--think Charley Harper doing storyboards for a mythological Mira Nair film--are sure to enchant kids, and adults, of all stripes. I enjoyed reading this version of the Ramayana immensely, and hope to gods some unsuspecting eight year-old finds his way into a whole new realm of divine delight. It's out now from Chronicle Books.