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Ramayana: Divine Loophole



Last updated Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Author: Sanjay Patel
Illustrator: Sanjay Patel
Date of Publication: 2010
ISBN: 081187107X
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2012

Synopsis: Artist and veteran Pixar animator Sanjay Patel lends a lush, whimsical illustration style and lighthearted voice to one of Hindu mythology's best-loved and most enduring tales. Teeming with powerful deities, love-struck monsters, flying monkey gods, magic weapons, demon armies, and divine love, Ramayana tells the story of Rama, a god-turned-prince, and his quest to rescue his wife Sita after she is kidnapped by a demon king. This illustrated tale features over 100 colorful full-spread illustrations, a detailed pictorial glossary of the cast of characters who make up the epic tale, and sketches of the work in progress. From princesses in peril to gripping battles, scheming royals, and hordes of bloodthirsty demons, Ramayana is the ultimate adventure story presented with an unforgettably modern touch.

Note to readers:
•  This book includes a number of names that can be difficult to pronounce. Fortunately, pages 125 - 169 include pronunciation guides, brief explanations of Hindu gods and other characters, and some geography to help you and the kids better understand the story.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever been to India or another country?
•  Do you know any myths from other countries? Do your parents tell you any fairy tales or legends? Do you know any Greek myths?

Vocabulary:
•  Ramayana- pronounced RHA-mah-YAH-nah, it means "Rama's Journey"
•  Destiny- the power that determines the course of events.
•  Epic- impressively great. This term can also refer to a long poem, usually centered around a hero's journey.
•  Cosmic- a vast or immeasurable part of the universe that is outside of the earth.
•  Hostile- characteristic of an enemy or someone who is not friendly, warm, or generous.
•  Avatar- the physical form of a god who has come to Earth
•  Vedic- the ancient religious literature of some parts of India
•  Ramifications- consequences; something bad may happen because of what someone did
•  Sanctified- made holy

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What was your favorite part of the book? Why was it your favorite part?
•  Who was your favorite character?
•  Was the Desperate Demon always a bad guy?
•  In the Deeds of Rama, do Rama and Lakshman remind you of any other types of military training (hint: kung fu, etc.)
•  When Rama broke the bow of the god Shiva, did that remind you of any other stories you know? (hint: King Arthur and the sword in the stone, etc.)

Craft ideas:
•  Have the kids draw small characters from the book and cut them out. Glue the people to popsicle sticks and as a group make a background. Reenact their favorite parts.
•  Have the kids write and illustrate their own myth in which they are the heroes.
•  Have the kids create and draw their own demon or their own Hindu god
•  Have the kids draw and name their own fruit or animal that they find in the Indian jungle

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!