Books by Julie Larios

Released: April 1, 2008

Using poems and pictures, this modern bestiary proves a fascinating introduction to mythical creatures from different cultures. Beginning with the ever-popular dragon and ending with the familiar phoenix, the collection also includes the less well-known Russian firebird, the Old Testament cockatrice, the British hobgoblin and will o' the wisp, the Egyptian sphinx and the Southeast Asian naga. Each creature is described in a poem capturing some of its unique features as well as its mystery. The mermaid is "part woman, part fish" who listens "to the waves break on the shore—half song, half roar," while the gargoyle is a beast "with a stone tongue, with a stone throat" whose "mouth is a rainspout." While the illustrations appropriately borrow elements from medieval illuminated manuscripts, including embellished capital letters, intricate curvilinear forms and brilliant colors, they also incorporate decorative forms from the cultural source. The firebird reflects Russian folk art; the trolls recall Nordic wood carvings; the thunderbird echoes tribal art of the Pacific Northwest. End-pages ingeniously unite the curious creatures providing the perfect start and finish to this little masterpiece. (glossary) (Picture book. 6-9) Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2006

Fourteen familiar animals are the focus of this poetry collection, with each poem describing one animal's color and personality. The assigned colors are sometimes a realistic color for that animal (a brown mouse, a white owl), but more often, the particular color reflects an aspect of the creature's personality (an angry red donkey, for example, or a perky purple puppy) or the animal's surroundings (the titular yellow elephant "galumphing along" in the jungle sunshine). The poems are short, accessible and mainly non-rhyming, though many have subtle internal rhymes or a single rhyming couplet. The elegant design features the poems on the left-hand pages surrounded by white space and balanced with a small, vertical illustration of the particular animal. The right-hand pages are full-page paintings in gouache of the brilliantly colored creatures, with each animal set against a patterned background suggestive of its environment. The inventive colorations will intrigue children, who might wish to meet a pink kitty or a turquoise lizard. (Poetry. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 15, 2001

New and exciting possibilities can be found in everyday life if only one takes the opportunity to savor the ordinary. "Have you ever slept outside on a hot summer night?" "Held a hungry snake." "Flown with wings. / Have you ever done that?" These poetic challenges to do something different make even sleeping in the back lawn in a sleeping bag seem like an adventure. Walking through a corn field; watching dragonflies float overhead; even swinging on a rope swing and dropping into the water below all become mysterious and beautiful. Soft watercolor-and-pen illustrations add to the whimsy of the rhythmic verses. Imaginations will soar and sleeping bags will be unrolled as young readers discover their own everyday adventures. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >