Books by Graham Percy

Released: Jan. 1, 2001

Elefantina dreams of skating a dazzling performance in a silvery suit in the next Elympics. Unfortunately, this dream seems unlikely to come true. She lacks a rink, a coach, and even ice skates, but with some ingenuity, she sells coconut to pay for the skates; builds her own ice rink out of blocks of ice borrowed from the ice man; and meets an earnest mouse who agrees to coach her. Mouse tells her that to become the greatest skater and make the team, she must learn the salchow jump. But Elfy just can't master that feat—at least until a jealous rival accidentally helps her instead of hurting her. A few ill-placed banana peels send Elfy sailing up into the air then down to complete the perfect jump. Elfy then goes on to the Elympics where she performs the perfect routine and is showered with flowers. Cartoon drawings created using crayons and colored pencils accompany the rhyming verses. Text-heavy pages make this a poor choice for reading aloud to a large group, but smaller groups or individual readers will enjoy the lyrical cadence of the story. Readers familiar with Kennedy's earlier book featuring the Elympics (1999) will want to read more about this talented pachyderm. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
PIGASUS by Pat Murphy
by Pat Murphy, illustrated by Graham Percy
Released: April 1, 1996

The walrus in Through the Looking Glass may not have decided whether pigs have wings, but Murphy—in her first picture book— has. Her creation is Pigasus, a charmingly imagined pig in Percy's soft watercolors. Pigasus eschews her mother's tail-curling lessons for barrel rolls, somersaults, and high-speed dives taught to her by a neighboring pigeon. Her mother worries for her future, however, until Pigasus makes a daring rescue of her mother's gold ring. This otherwise simple barnyard story takes a leap of faith with its inclusion of pirates, but is saved by the strength of its illustrations. A silly, fun book for children. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS by Kenneth Grahame
Released: May 15, 1992

Despite the attractive large format of this pleasant complete edition of the 1908 classic, the illustrations seem bland in comparison with either the lively wit of Ernest Shepard's drawings or Rackham's elegant and endearing detail. Percy does evoke the serenity of the English landscape and cozy interiors in his carefully designed full-color plates, while the characters come affably to life in his detailed drawings. There's a more contemporary flavor here, too, though costume and settings are appropriately Edwardian. Not a primary purchase, but a nice supplementary interpretation. (Fiction. 6+) Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1992

An unattributed expansion of the familiar nursery tale about a cock and mouse who mend their unhelpful ways after their housemate cleverly contrives their escape from a fox. Percy's smooth color-pencil style is as effective here as it was in his illustrations for Reynard the Fox (1991); the appealing animals are sly caricatures of their human counterparts, the realistic settings so lucidly rendered that they will be clear to the youngest listeners. The retelling is brisk and contemporary, but includes a decidedly odd addition: The ``four bad little foxes'' who live with the big fox not only volunteer to help with the cooking, but are actually seen at work making preparations for it—which sets them at least a couple of rungs above the cock and mouse on the moral ladder. What are we to make of that? It certainly undermines the story's original didactic intent. (Folklore/Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
REYNARD THE FOX by Selina Hastings
adapted by Selina Hastings, illustrated by Graham Percy
Released: May 22, 1991

Basing her retelling of this traditional European story about an impenitent trickster on Caxton's 1481 translation, Hastings retains its medieval flavor in her details (Reynard, claiming to have reformed, ``has given away all his wealth, and spends hours a day on his knees in penance for his sins''). Beginning with a scene in which Reynard's neighbor animals voice their complaints against him, she recounts three unsuccessful attempts to bring the miscreant to justice in the halls of King Lion. Like Hastings's carefully honed text, Percy's illustrations have an apparent simplicity that disguises their considerable subtlety. His soft color-pencil drawings almost appear to be in coloring-book style, yet they are beautifully structured; the characters are lively and have extraordinarily expressive faces, and the setting is skillfully evoked, both in the many details and in the animals' demeanor—they would be equally at home in a Chaucerian tale. A fine, accessible edition in lengthy picture- book format, to share aloud or use as a young reader. (Folklore. 5-10) Read full book review >