Books by John Harris

THE ELEPHANT FROM BAGHDAD by Mary Tavener Holmes
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2012

"Captivating and charming both as animal story and as a glimpse of historical East/West relations. (Picture book. 4-10)"
Holmes, Harris and Cannel (A Giraffe Goes to Paris, 2010) again team up to tell a tale about a large exotic animal who historically ventured into European/Western territory. Read full book review >
POP-UP AESOP by John Harris
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 14, 2005

Five fables, four of them not the usual chestnuts, get modern-sounding retellings—"A wolf had worked up a big appetite and was looking for a snack. . . . "—further enlivened by an array of moving eyes, nodding heads, figures that leap up as the spread opens and morals on pull-out slides. Brown conveys the generally cheery spirit here with busy, modernist scenes featuring loud colors, flat perspectives and purple animals. Introduced by a grandfatherly-looking Aesop in sandals and eyeglasses, and closing with a spinner that invites children to select animals and morals to create fables of their own, this makes a refreshing, unconventional introduction to these ancient tales, which all too often sound stodgy to modern ears. (Folktales. 5-8)Read full book review >
STRONG STUFF by John Harris
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

Another campy take on ancient mythology from the author of Greece! Rome! Monsters! (2002), illustrated by Calef Brown. Here, "the most famous of all heroes" (do you doubt?) tackles the Nemean Lion (carrying away its skin as "a kind of gross souvenir"), the Hind of Keryneia, the Erymanthian Boar ("a very big pig with absolutely no manners") and nine other "labors—tasks, jobs, what have you," in expiation for being tricked into killing his family by "Hera, Queen of Olympos, who never, ever gave Herakles a break." Baseman matches Harris's breezy tone with big, cartoony scenes featuring a pink-skinned, mightily thewed he-man with a pompadour and severe five o'clock shadow taking on a series of challenges—some of which, the author points out, required as much brain as brawn—with aplomb. Offered with a map and "How's that again?" pronunciation guides, this fresh, funny rendition definitely blows the dust off the old tales, while staying surprisingly close to traditional versions. (Picture book/folktale. 7-11)Read full book review >