This beautifully presented picture book adaptation of the creation of the epic Hindu poem The Mahabharata is a feast for the eyes. It is loosely based on the classic legend of how Ganesha broke his tusk. In this colorful tale by Pixar animator Sanjay Patel and editor Emily Haynes, Ganesha is just a kid — a god, but still just a kid. And a kid with a wicked sweet tooth, which combined with his hubris leads him to bite into a jawbreaker candy that breaks his tusk. As he confronts his fear of being ridiculed for his ”lopsided” looks, complaining to his best friend Mr. Mouse, he runs into Vyasa, the poet. The old man tells the young elephant god that he’s been looking for him because he needed a scribe to write his poem about ”the beginning of things,” which was so long that ”all the pens in the world would break before it was done.” The two strike a deal for Ganesha to use his broken tusk to write the poem without stopping, as long as he understood the meaning of it all. And 100,000 verses later The Mahabharata was finished and the broken tusk that Ganesha once tried to toss away now had value and his looks were much less important.
Just as engaging as the message and tale are the rich graphic illustrations that Patel pulls off. The color palette and mix of dots and lines have a delectable appeal. So sweet we almost want to pop it in our mouths. A