Books by Joanna Isles

THE NUTCRACKER by David Freeman
adapted by David Freeman, illustrated by Joanna Isles
ANIMALS
Released: July 1, 1997

An uninspiring version of the famous ballet is decorated, not illustrated, with undue attention on borders, designs, and patterns, painted in attenuated variants of candy colors, and characters and action in the background. Freeman proceeds as if readers are as familiar with the story as he is, stating that Clara and her brother, Fritz, watch ``in awe and amazement as the guests arrived.'' Nothing awesome appears in the text or in the pictures; that page portrays two silly-looking guests in disastrous parodies of party attire, along with a child who turns out to be Clara (almost out of the frame) and Fritz nowhere to be found; ribbons and confetti fill all of the small scene's space, yet fail to depict anything extraordinary. The events of the narrative are not well-portrayed; instead, one small action is usually the focus and the rest of the page is filled with ornamentation. The book tells the story adequately for those on the way to the ballet, but the charm of Isles's work for A Proper Tea (1989) is lost on this one. (Picture book. 5-7) Read full book review >