The Boys Who Fought: A New Way of Narrating the Epics (Paperback)
Pattanaik brings forth a fresh approach to Mahabharata—age-appropriate and non-preachy—and raises pertinent questions that intrigue its readers long after closing the book.
The book has enough black-and-white, attractive illustrations to not appear like an intense mythology lesson, yet the topics touched upon and the perspective presented are profound and fascinating. Pattanaik sums up the entire epic in the fights between five Pandavas and their hundred cousins. It begins with them not sharing toys to escalating into a vicious war as the children grow up into mighty warriors; The book is divided into six fights that the Pandavas fought as Orphans, refugees, Kings, Exiles, Warriors, and hermits.
Though the story appears to scrape only a surface of the monumental legend, Pattanaik succeeds in catching the ancient text’s essence and soul. He spotlights many cardinal intersections to the readers as he breezes through Krishna’s unshakable support and guidance, Draupadi’s poignant humiliation, Bhishma’s oath, and Ashwatthama’s supposed death are cited, amongst many others.
The format is similar to another book from Pattanaik—The Girl Who Chose, a retelling of the Ramayana from Sita’s perspective.
The brilliant, engaging illustrations with speech bubbles fill the gaps between the narratives and stir curiosity for extended reading on the subject. The footnotes are generously sprinkled with facts, details, and anecdotes about characters, and the folk versions are intriguing and engaging.
The concept of sharing and Dharma, as to be followed by the meek and mighty, forms the book’s backbone. The conclusion makes a befitting end and enthralls both adults and children alike.
These illustrative books targeted at the new generation of readers are crafted just the right way to engage the younger reader.
A great way to introduce mythology.
Read the review of other books by Devdutt Pattanaik:
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.