I recently read a Ramayana picture book of sorts, by Sanjay Patel. Ramayana: Divine Loophole is an interesting take on the classic story by a Pixar animator and artist. It is of course biased towards Rama, but still sympathetic to Ravan and Lanka, a bit. It’s a beautiful an well-retold version of the classic tale, with a great appendix of characters and sketches.
Of modern animations of the Ramayana, Sita Sings The Blues is probably the best, IMHO. That is a video of course, and this book is the best 2D retelling I’ve seen. The characters are modern and spare but also somehow classic. They’re all resolutely 2-dimensional, but Patel focuses attention cleanly through use of light and dark, and action lines. The writing is conversational without dimensions the grandeur of the original story. It’s very good.
A few human loopholes I found: there’s a scene of a bear swimming and yet the author says, upon reaching Lanka, that none of Rama’s animal army could swim. And that’s about all really. There were a few shortcuts the author necessarily had to take to fit an epic poem into a 120 page book. There are no stories of Ravana’s brothers or sons, nor the political disputes in the monkey kingdom, nor the second time Rama kicks Sita out, this time for good, and where she essentially tells the Ramayana, through her sons, to the sage Valmiki. Some of this stuff is covered in the appendix on characters.
These are all, of course, choices that any reteller of the Ramayana must make. Patel makes them judiciously and the result is a book that’s captivating for adults and children alike. It’s one thing that’s much better read in print than electronically. It’s available from Amazon.