Pashu: Animal Tales from Hindu Mythology
Author- Devdutt Pattanaik
Publisher: India Puffin; (October 1, 2014)
Paperback: 184 pages
Reading age: 8 – 12 years
Themes- Mythology, folklore, animals.
Who could be better than the maestro of Indian Mythology to write a children’s book about the role of animals in the Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, and other ancient texts?
Pattanaik once again presents a well-researched, reflective, and clever book for the middle graders elaborating on the origin, relevance, and indispensable role animals play in our folklore. Each anecdote diverts the readers’ attention to the context and the centrality of different animals in the often-told legends.
The book kicks off with a brief introduction about the origin of different species according to the mythos. Sage Kashyap, the son of Brahma, the creator, is apparently the father of the animal world, with each of his wives reproducing a different species. Timi is the mother of creatures that swim, Vinata of all those who fly, Kadru gives birth to animals who crawl, Surabhi to the ones with hooves, Sarama to ones with paws, and Surasa is the mother of those creatures that defy classification. The book delves into these animals in subsections, unknotting the connected stories from different regions and beliefs passed on by oral traditions.
The book is an interplay of well-known tales and scores of exotic stories that have stayed relatively unknown from widespread knowledge. Pattanaik keeps the narrative jaunty and upbeat with his vivid black and white illustrations and doesn’t refrain from challenging the well-accepted facts and figures. If a mythological belief appears incongruent in the shadows of modern knowledge, Pattanaik proposes a possible explanation, appealing to the curious and logical minds.
Pattanaik intricately weaves the secrets of the animal world into mysteries of mythology and brews a brilliant concoction. Much like his other kids’ books, the tales from the ancient Hindu text are age appropriate and streamlined for the target readers. A remarkable beginner set for the middle grader and a worthy companion to other books in this genre.
A fascinating collection of animal tales from ancient texts.
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About the author-
Devdutt Pattanaik is a mythologist from Mumbai, India.
He is also a speaker, illustrator, and author of Hindu sacred lore, legends, folklore, fables, and parables. His work focuses mainly on religion, mythology, and management.
Read more about Devdutt Pattanaik.