Books by Gennady Spirin

THE GREATEST DINOSAUR EVER by Brenda Z. Guiberson
Released: Oct. 1, 2013

"Dino lovers will learn how their favorites stack up. (Informational picture book. 4-8)"
Guiberson presents arguments as to why each of 12 dinosaurs should be considered the greatest—tallest, longest, fastest, smartest, best-armored, etc. Read full book review >
FROG SONG by Brenda Z. Guiberson
Released: Feb. 5, 2013

"Another harmonious salute to the natural world by an accomplished pair. (Informational picture book. 4-9)"
In this oversized album, 11 frogs from around the world exemplify the varied ways frogs find enough moisture to keep themselves and their eggs and tadpoles alive. Read full book review >
THE VELVETEEN RABBIT by Margery Williams
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 1, 2011

Precious as the language sounds to modern ears (the term "nursery magic" alone will likely set the eyes of even preliterate listeners to rolling), Williams' 1922 classic remains a read-aloud standard thanks to the way big themes of life, death and change weave through its seemingly small and largely familiar domestic events. Read full book review >
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD by Gennady Spirin
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2010

"A classic tale tendered with class. (Picture book/fairy tale. 5-8)"
A cunning wolf leads a guileless little girl astray with nearly fatal consequences in this luscious presentation of the familiar tale. Read full book review >
JESUS by King James Holy Bible
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Feb. 1, 2010

"While both the overall design and the illustrations are artistically stunning, the use of the King James Version of the biblical texts and the formal composition of the illustrations are not child-friendly, making this of most interest to adult collectors. (Religion/picture book. 7-10)"
The artistic starting point for the luminous illustrations in Spirin's latest exploration of biblical texts is a large tempera painting incorporating scenes from the key events in the life of Christ. Read full book review >
THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS by Gennady Spirin
MUSIC AND THE ARTS
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

"Lovely. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Spirin's immediately recognizable artistic style stands out in another arresting interpretation of a traditional text (Goldilocks and the Three Bears, 2009, etc.). Read full book review >
LIFE IN THE BOREAL FOREST by Brenda Z. Guiberson
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

"Beautiful and useful. (Informational picture book. 4-9)"
Stretching around the far north of our world, the boreal forest is a unique ecosystem facing a variety of threats. Read full book review >
GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS by Gennady Spirin
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2009

Dozens of visions of Goldilocks, both rustic and refined, have skipped their way through children's books, but none as elegantly as this one. Read full book review >
GENNADY SPIRIN’S CREATION by Gennady Spirin
RELIGION
Released: April 1, 2008

"There is no indication in the text or jacket flap copy that the creation story is from the beginning of the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament, simply that it comes from the Bible. (artist's note, publisher's note) (Religion. 4-8)"
Spirin continues his recent exploration of biblical themes with this attractive interpretation of the creation story. Read full book review >
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD by Gennady Spirin
RELIGION
Released: Jan. 1, 2008

"Though the religious symbolism in the illustrations will be familiar to many, other symbols and images are less certain, and an illustrator's note of explanation would have made the volume more accessible to those less familiar with biblical history. (Nonfiction. 5-adult)"
Spirin continues his series of illustrated Bible stories with this individualistic and somewhat mysterious interpretation of the beloved Twenty-Third Psalm. Read full book review >
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Clement Clarke Moore
POETRY
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

"The Victorian setting is complemented by an old-fashioned typeface and a tall, painted clock noting the midnight hour next to each verse of the poem. (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)"
A most unusual title page sets the magical tone for this distinctive interpretation of Moore's classic Christmas poem. Read full book review >
A APPLE PIE by Gennady Spirin
ABC BOOKS
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

"From A to Z, absolutely delectable. (Picture book. All ages)"
Far from being just another abecedarium, Spirin's signature finely lined, captivating watercolors stretch the parameters with his engaging interpretation of the English nursery rhyme. Read full book review >
MARTHA by Gennady Spirin
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2005

"A little slice of life—about life. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Spirin's illustrations always gladden the heart, and here his meticulous and sumptuous watercolors highlight a familiar family tale. Read full book review >
THE STORY OF NOAH AND THE ARK by King James Bible
RELIGION
Released: April 1, 2004

"These spreads have a mysteriously dusky lighting giving them the look of old masterpieces from a long-gone era. (poster) (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)"
Spirin's detailed, luminous paintings provide a traditional interpretation of the familiar Old Testament story, using the old-fashioned, measured cadences of the King James Bible as the text. Read full book review >
MOSES by Ann Keay Beneduce
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Feb. 1, 2004

"The volume's exquisite design includes some illustrated pages with panels incorporating passages of biblical text and smaller spot illustrations at the bottom of many pages adding details and visual interest. (author's note) (Nonfiction. 6-10)"
Beneduce retells stories from the life of Moses in a fictionalized biography style told in contemporary language, using both the Torah and the King James Bible as references. Read full book review >
SIMEON’S GIFT by Julie Andrews Edwards
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2003

"The story rather bobbles and clunks along, though, with the weight of too many words and perhaps not a clear enough melody. (CD of Andrews reading) (Picture book. 6-9)"
In a time of "castles and monasteries," a poor young man named Simeon plays his lute for all and loves a noblewoman, Sorrel. Read full book review >
THE TALE OF THE FIREBIRD by Gennady Spirin
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

"Masterful. (Picture book/folktale. 5-12)"
Exquisite design and delicately elaborate illustration evoking the finely burnished gilt tradition of classic Russian lacquer ware transport the reader to once-upon-a-time and the faraway kingdom of Tsar Vasilyi. Read full book review >
PHILIPOK by Leo Tolstoy
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

"Not as substantial a story as Kashtanka, the Chekhov story also illustrated by Spirin, but certainly not without its charms. (Picture book. 3-7)"
A children's story by the great storyteller, set in the wintry scenes of a Russian village. Read full book review >
THE EASTER STORY by Gennady Spirin
Released: March 1, 1999

"This book serves as an artful introduction to the popular Bible stories, with appeal for those fond of ornate, formal treatments. (Picture book. 5-10)"
Spirin illustrates excerpts from the King James Bible in a luminous Italian Renaissance style. Read full book review >
THE CRANE WIFE by Odds Bodkin
adapted by Odds Bodkin, illustrated by Gennady Spirin
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1998

"An exquisite and memorable volume. (Picture book/folklore. 5-10)"
This rendition of the bittersweet Japanese tale about the lonely sail-maker Osamu, who finds and then loses his perfect mate, is a poetic gem. Read full book review >
THE TALE OF TSAR SALTAN by Alexander Pushkin
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"The story is little more than a beam on which to hang the artwork: delicately executed, intricate paintings of scenery and costume, animals and magical events, in which Spirin shows Russian culture in all its splendor. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8)"
 A tale by Pushkin, based—according to the copyright page—on a translation by Pauline Hejl and adapted for the picture-book form. Read full book review >
THE TEMPEST by Ann Keay Beneduce
CLASSICS
Released: March 19, 1996

"Recommended for public and school libraries: Not only does it work as a read-alone story but will prepare theatergoers for a performance of the full play. (notes) (Picture book. 8+)"
 Beneduce (A Weekend With Winslow Homer, 1993, etc.) retells Shakespeare's play in a text that reads like a fairy tale. Read full book review >
KASHTANKA by Anton Chekhov
by Anton Chekhov, translated by Ronald Meyer, illustrated by Gennady Spirin
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1995

"They amplify and enlarge the tale: It's not a book, it's a performance. (Picture book. 8+)"
 The heroine of Chekhov's short story is a dog who gets lost and is adopted by a clown. Read full book review >
THE FROG PRINCESS by J. Patrick Lewis
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Sept. 1, 1994

"This one is worth a look. (Picture book. 4-8)"
 A prince marries a frog—it's a long story. Read full book review >
GULLIVER'S ADVENTURES IN LILLIPUT by Jonathan Swift
FANTASY
Released: Oct. 27, 1993

"A richly comic teaser for Riordan's earthier adaptation (Gulliver's Travels, 1992) or even the timeless original. (Picture book. 9-12)"
 A tastefully abridged version of Gulliver's first adventure. Read full book review >
THE CHILDREN OF LIR by Sheila MacGill-Callahan
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: March 1, 1993

"A bit pretentious, but undeniably handsome. (Folklore/Picture book. 5-10)"
 In a tale ``loosely based on an Irish myth,'' Lir's four children are turned into swans by jealous stepmother Aiofe, who grants them just one day a year in their true form—but ``on that day your feet may not touch the earth or you will surely die.'' They find refuge on a whale's back; still, she pursues them relentlessly until the spell is broken by friendly birds who form an arch to join two mountains—the ``Man from the North'' and the ``Woman from the South.'' In the original, these are a man and woman, from warring tribes, who marry; 900 years have elapsed; and the aged children join Lir in heaven—this isn't for purists, but it makes a dramatic story in a folkloric style. Read full book review >
SNOW WHITE AND ROSE RED by Jacob Grimm
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Nov. 4, 1992

"Lush and handsome, but without the storytelling verve of Barbara Cooney's freer illustrations (1965, 1991). (Folklore/Picture book. 4-10)"
 A slightly updated text based on May Sellars's 19th-century translation of the story about two sisters who not only befriend a bear who's really a prince but rescue—three times—the peculiarly ungrateful gnome (``dwarf'' in other editions) who enchanted the prince and stole his treasure. Read full book review >
BOOTS AND THE GLASS MOUNTAIN by Claire Martin
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: June 1, 1992

"This Cinderella variant doesn't really need such a lush setting, but many will enjoy it. (Folklore/Picture book. 4-8)"
 A restructuring of Asbjornsen and Moe's ``The Princess on the Glass Hill.'' Martin modernizes the language, prunes descriptions and repetitions, and adds unnecessary explanations, a romantic source for Boots's tinderbox, and the threat of a troll groom if the princess's suitors fail. Read full book review >
SOROTCHINTZY FAIR by Nikolai Gogol
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: April 10, 1991

 First, this is not Gogol's lengthy original—a ribald, satirical picture of village life in the Ukraine, a story that turns on peasant gullibility, takes anti-Semitism for granted (Gogol is also merciless toward women, and everyone else), and is as rich in pungent detail as Washington Irving's tales—a grand piece of social history that would surely be problematic out of context, by one of Russia's 19th-century masters. Read full book review >