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The Little Book of Hindu Deities: From the Goddess of Wealth to the Sacred Cow [Paperback]

Sanjay Patel
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 17.00
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Book Description

Oct. 31 2006

In The Little Book of Hindu Deities, Pixar animator Sanjay Patel brings to life Hinduism’s most important gods and goddesses in fun, full-color illustrations, each accompanied by a short, lively profile. The stories of Hindu mythology cover everything from love and jealousy to petty grievances and epic battles, with characters ranging from monsters and demons to noble warriors and divine divas. Find out why Ganesha has an elephant’s head (his father cut it off!) and why Kali, the Goddess of Time, is known as “The Black One” (she’s a bit goth).

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The Little Book of Hindu Deities: From the Goddess of Wealth to the Sacred Cow + Ramayana: Divine Loophole + Ganesha's Sweet Tooth
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Sanjay Patel is an animator and storyboard artist for Pixar Animation Studios, where he has worked on features that include Monsters, Inc., A Bugs Life; Toy Story 2; and The Incredibles. He has also worked on The Simpsons for Fox and with legendary cartoonist John K., creator of Ren and Stimpy.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting presentation March 11 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is Recommended for all the kids who want to learn a bit more about the Hindu Religion in a simple word.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very cute book! May 29 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book has very cute pixar-style illustrations. The information was brief but enough to understand what each deity is about. I like how the book includes symbols and texts as well, not just major deities.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, and totally worth getting! Aug. 19 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just received this book today, and am enthralled by this colorful, beautiful, and amazingly moving book that talks about some of the many Hindu deities in a very down-to-earth and intriguing manner. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants the cliff-notes version of Hindu deities, or maybe someone who wants to introduce their little ones in a fun way.

The illustrations, of course, are the most important selling point of the book. It might have been better with some fact-checking, but hey it is supposed to be an "introduction" and it fulfills that purpose very well.

Don't think about it much, just get it!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cute Deities June 16 2010
Sanjay Patel has beautifully shown that even the God and Goddess of Death and Destruction (i.e. Shiva and Kali) can look so cute.
Reasonable introduction on most famous Hindu deities with beautiful illustrations.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  92 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My husband reads it to my 2 year old - both love it! March 22 2007
By Shari DeCarlo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The visuals are captivating and engaging. There's a good dose of humour in there as well. My 2 year old loves to look at the pictures. My husband and I want to expose our children to all the different religious beliefs, mythologies and ideas we can. This is a great way to introduce the primary Hindu Deities to a house that hasn't had much exposure to them.
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cute deities, annoying production Aug. 23 2008
By Darth Breather - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a handy compendium of Hindu deities, with the gods and goddesses made cute in a self-confessed Hello Kitty kind of way. The idea is sort of sweet, and I'd love to see Patel do other religious figures this way.

What was profoundly irritating was how difficult some of the pages were to read - white text on pastel-colored pages. The dark-colored pages were fine, but white on pink? White on yellow? What was Penguin thinking?

I hope they'll correct this in the next edition.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of humor, sweet and educational Dec 27 2006
By latenac - Published on Amazon.com
I bought this book when it was still being self-published. My daughter loves it. It's a great guide to Hindu deities. There's wonderful subtle humor in it and the drawings are wonderful. It's been a great addition to our library to teach our daughter about world religions.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enlightening! July 28 2008
By Karpagam Rajan - Published on Amazon.com
I found this book really mind-blowing. I grew up in India.However didn't get to know much about hinduism, because Mom was an athiest. But had the basic knowledge about Hindu Gods from different sources(Family, visiting Temples, Television,Movies etc). As I grew up, had lot of basic questions, and really felt bad about it. Thought it was too late for me to ask now. I read this book and it cleared all by grey areas. thanks to Sanjay.

Also, because he has presented very crisp information in a simple way, it is just so easy to understand.

Overall, it's a very handy book and am glad now I can pass some knowledge to the next generations to come.
25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Offended me as a Hindu April 22 2010
By Mom - Published on Amazon.com
My sister bought this book for my kids online. On the whole - the characterizations, the illustrations - everything struck the wrong note with me. I didn't like it all.

Aug 5th 2010.
Based on comments, I am qualifying my post with specifics:

First the author's background confirms my doubts. With an educational background in animation, it seems like he started with the illustrations and then added the text. His religious education is mostly informal, initiated by an interest in drawing gods and finding 'entertainment' in their exploits. Nothing against the author, but it sheds light on why it lacks reverence and why it won't help teaching religion or the spiritual side of Hinduism to children.

The 'funny' tone is not definitely funny to me, a hindu, who has had her share of laughs based on the gods. Some of the jokes are outsider jokes not insider - if you see what I mean. Some are downright repugnant - I don't want to repeat them - if you have read the book, I don't think you will have a hard time finding any of those.

I think the book confuses the lay reader on Hinduism more than educating him. It could've at least used a basic 1-2 page introduction of devas (gods), God, main philosophies/views ( trimurti concept/Shaivism/Vaishnavism etc) before delving in.

I would not like my children to identify reverential figures with the illustrations from the book.

Some stories, such as the one of Bhairava, I had never heard before. I did a quick look on wikipedia and the story is not even mentioned in his page. The 'Animal gods' section, where I expected the most irreverence, surprised me - It was educative. I did find some pages that are well written (such as 'Krishna'), but also some that miss important elements completely (such as Narasimha, it skipped Prahlada's devotion).

If you are a Hindu, looking to introduce your child to Hinduism, your best bet would be Nishita Chaitanya's books ('Krishna rocks' is her best one yet). You can find them on the Chinmaya mission website for a fraction of the amazon price. Her style, illustrations, and content are all great, in the one page illustration - one page text format for kids.

Hope this helps.
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