The Little Book of Hindu Deities by Sanjay Patel

Mar 13, 2010

The Little Book of Hindu Deities CoverAnyone who likes art, animation, or cute things should pick up The Little Book of Hindu Deities. A small book housed in our Young Adult section, it offers some basic info on Hinduism for the curious or those who want to brush up on Vishnu’s incarnations, but its real value is in Patel’s illustrations. An animator at Pixar, Patel renders the Hindu gods and goddesses in a colorful style that combines pop art with Japanese cartoon cute, and his obvious joy in his craft dispels any concern of religious irreverence. Awash in shades of orange, blue and magenta, Patel’s designs are made of simple geometric shapes but contain a wealth of detail, from the trident and drum of Shiva to Kali’s belt made of human hands. The illustration of Kali is my favorite, showing her gleefully sticking her tongue out amidst the blood and destruction that comes with her role as the goddess of time. Also of particular note are the adorable elephant god Ganesha, whose blessing starts the book, and the tiny blue Krishna merrily playing his flute. The book covers the main gods and demigods along with brief descriptions of important texts, astrology and chronology, and while the tone can sometimes slant a little young, the simple explanations are easy to understand and remember. Patel’s newest book is an illustrated retelling of the Hindu epic the Ramayana, and should be over 100 pages of glorious full-color fun. Dare we hope other epics like the Mahabharata might be next?

Reviewed by Library Staff