Books by Ian Andrew

CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 1, 2005

Designed more for a quick flip-through than any sort of serious study, this appendage to 2004's Egyptology looks like a battered notebook of general remarks about ancient Egypt with memorabilia clipped in, compiled by "Emily Sands," the fictive vanished archeologist. The special effects are limited to a page of stickers, a pasted-in envelope and a few flimsy flaps; the illustrations mix shadowy pencil drawings with realistically drawn old photos, brochures, leather edges, stains and scraps of ephemera. The text, written with eye-glazing dullness and presented in alternating blocks of globby typewriter face and a nearly illegible italic script, is rife with vague claims—" . . . there is evidence that a large number of the population could read and write, including a number of women"—unsupported by specific information, sources or even an index. Flashy but perfunctory. (Fictionalized nonfiction. 10-12)Read full book review >
THE BOAT by Helen Ward
by Helen Ward, illustrated by Ian Andrew
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 25, 2005

Washes of muted color against misty grey crosshatching and an elegant font soften this slightly didactic tale with its echoes of Noah and the flood. An old man lives on a hill, alone except for taking in hurt or abandoned animals of all kinds. On a nearby hill is a village that fears the old man, except for one boy who is fascinated by the man's care for the creatures. When the heavy rains begin and threaten to engulf the old man's menagerie, a boat appears and the boy seizes it, rowing to rescue first the animals and then the old man himself. The villagers, aroused, make rafts to rescue more, and take in the animals and the old man. When he bids them thanks, although his hill has been drowned, the rain stops and a rainbow appears. A quiet story, with images of people and landscape inspired by the artist's home town of Portland, Dorset, England. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
JIM’S LION by Russell Hoban
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 1, 2001

Jim is in the hospital, seriously ill and facing surgery; he knows he might die. He's too frail for surgery and he's afraid. Nurse Bami is "from Africa; she had tribal scars on her cheeks. She had seen lions, elephants, crocodiles." And she is able to facilitate Jim's ability to find the strength to fight for his life. She tells him to go to a good place in his mind where his "finder" can come to him and bring him back. In a series of dreams, Jim visits a lonely place by the sea and discovers that his finder is a lion. Ultimately, his lion is the source of the strength and courage he needs to be able to recover sufficiently to come home for Christmas. Jim's story is beautifully told in a measured progression of conversations between Nurse Bami and Jim and a series of Jim's dreams. Though the text is lengthy and the subject matter serious and complex, the pencil-and-pastel illustrations perfectly match the gentle, soft tone and enhance the dreamlike qualities. The muted quality of the light, the translucence of the lion, and the slightly out-of-focus figures are all a perfect match for the ethereal tone of the narrative. The oversized trim and borderless double spreads beckon the reader into the good place where the finders can come for them too. Hoban has taken a difficult subject and created an artful story, avoiding both preachiness and sappiness. The ending offers great hope but no miraculous cures. Effective for one-on-one reading with a child who's facing any type of difficulty for which inner strength is needed. Beautiful and comforting. (Picture book. 6-10)Read full book review >
BACK TO THE BLUE by Virginia McKenna
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 1, 1998

This Born Free Wildlife Book about the removal of one of the last captive dolphins in the UK to the wild—shown from from both the dolphin's and his rescuers' points of view—suffers from mediocre writing and a too-visible agenda. After more than 18 years in a ``barren concrete pool,'' Rocky the dolphin ``could only dimly remember'' freedom. A woman arrives who has ``eyes that were sad and filled with tears,'' and who, with a crew, transports him to a West Indian lagoon where he's later joined by companions Missy and Silver, and eventually released into the open sea. McKenna then tells the tale from the other side, describing how an activist mounted a local campaign on Rocky's behalf and, with the help of an animal-rights coalition, saw him freed. The first section is illustrated with hazy turquoise paintings; the second with an unsystematic selection of full-color snapshots that mostly convey how many people were involved in the rescue effort. A stinginess of detail plagues the account: Missy and Silver are barely mentioned, there are only hints of intriguing complications in Rocky's rescue, and, after a mention of the closure of two of the UK's last three dolphin shows, there is total silence about the fate of the remaining one. Random dolphin facts fill the final pages of this superficial commemoration of a triumph of the animal-rights movement. (Picture book. 7-10) Read full book review >
PREMLATA AND THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS by Rumer Godden
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 1997

A tender rags-to-riches tale from Godden (Great Grandfather's House, 1993, etc.), with an Indian setting and universal themes. Premlata cannot believe there will be no deepas—small oil lamps—for Diwali, the festival of lights that honors the goddess Kali. Her widowed mother has sold them—and most of the family's other possessions—to feed Prem and her siblings. At the big house her mother serves, Prem outhaggles the wicked housekeeper, Paru Didi, and is given rupees from the master, Bijoy Rai, to buy new oil lamps. She goes to the market, but is so distracted by sweets, toys, and gifts for her family that all the rupees are gone before she finds the lamp merchant. How Prem gets home safely (with the help of the master's friendly elephant), sees the end of Paru Didi's reign, and helps restore the family's fortunes is but part of this sweetly reassuring holiday story. Illustrated with soft-focus, beautifully detailed black-and-white drawings, the book provides a whirlwind tour of one small corner of Bengal life, and is sure to find an audience ready for any story Godden tells. (Fiction. 7-10) Read full book review >