Books by Kimberly Bulcken Root

Released: March 15, 1995

Hodges retells Swift's story of Lemuel Gulliver's strange run in with Lilliputians and the people of Blefuscu in a curious deadpan. The effect is not an emulation of some late-17th-century English reserve, but a distancing of readers from the action, making it almost impossible for them to get behind any of the characters. Gulliver is a dullard (``I was tempted to seize forty or fifty of them...but I remembered that I had promised to obey them''), the Lilliputians resentful, the folk of Blefuscu mere bit players. Still and all, this is Swift, and the tale muscles through the less-than-inspired handling. Look then to the artwork to provide the most entertaining contribution. Pulling yeoman's duty to keep things from foundering are Root's pleasing illustrations, with their smoky color and old feel, the fine linework done in crabbed hand. Details of the story appear in spot illustrations placed at impeccably timed intervals across the page of text. These act to highlight comedic moments and guarantee that accomplished readers will find the Swift behind the rendering. (Picture book. 7- 11) Read full book review >
Released: March 15, 1994

A pleasantly lilting, somewhat simplified rendition of an Irish tale about a boy and his magical companion: a bull that, dying in battle, leaves the lad a sword and a tablecloth, both with unusual qualities. Before he meets the inevitable princess Billy escapes an evil stepmother, kills three giants, and—``after a terrible fight entirely''—slays a dragon, losing a shoe as he leaves the field. The princess finds it, and...well, that part of the story's familiar too. Root's illustrations twine vigorously around blocks of text, opening to full-page scenes and spreads to capture climactic moments: the bull's death (which has the swirling intensity of a painting by William Blake); Billy's hair standing comically on end when he hears the first giant's roar; the happy couple sharing a goblet at their wedding feast as king and queen drowse contentedly on either side. Greene pays fine tribute to her source, shanachie Seumas MacManus, in a prefatory note. (Folklore/Picture book. 6-8) Read full book review >