Samhita Arni was Tara's youngest author - they published her version of the great epic Mahabharatha in 1996, when she was 12. The book, which she wrote and illustrated, has been published in seven languages. She has since studied film and religion at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, US, and is currently working with a Pakistani woman filmmaker. Moyna and Joydeb Chitrakar are performers and artists from the Patua scroll painting tradition of West Bengal. To watch a video of Moyna Chitrakar performing from the Ramayana scroll which inspired the book click here
The Ramayana, one of India's ancient epics, like the Iliad, features two kingdoms at war over a beautiful queen. Arni (The Mahabharatha: A Child's View) gives that queen a voice. Sita, imprisoned in a garden with demons for guards, hears reports of the battles between her husband's allies and those of her abductor, but they bring little satisfaction. Instead, she questions the glory of male heroism: "War, in some ways, is merciful to men.... But if you are a woman... you become the mother of dead sons, a widow, or an orphan; or worse, a prisoner." The fantastic creatures of the epic appear as in the original-the snake-eating bird-deity Garuda, the form-changing monkey hero Hanuman, the animals who build a gigantic bridge over the ocean-but their deeds are tinged with sadness. Chitrakar's (Tsunami) traditional Bengali figures, with their static poses and staring eyes, are energized by dynamic, graphic novel-style panel layouts, but they're unlikely by themselves to draw young readers, who may struggle with the story's complexity. Nonetheless, Arni's retelling is a moving and important one. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Ramayana saga dramatically chronicles the struggles of Queen Sita. Numerous plot turns, magical animals, sorcery, divine gods, and demons create drama. This visually stunning graphic novel, told from Sita's perspective, uses drawings from traditional Hindu pictographs and cave paintings. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
A must-purchase based on the strength of its dramatic story and arresting art, enhanced by superior design and high-quality production. Brilliant and fresh. School Library Journal Gorgeous, vibrant illustrations ... The age range for this book is really boundless ... American Library Association Arni's retelling is a moving and important one Publishers Weekly