Books by Kris Waldherr

THE LOST HISTORY OF DREAMS by Kris Waldherr
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 9, 2019

"Waldherr writes that 'love stories are ghost stories in disguise.' This one, happily, succeeds as both."
A daguerreotypist in mourning, hired to transport a cousin's corpse for an unusual interment, finds himself the reluctant chronicler of a tragic family story in Waldherr's debut novel. Read full book review >
BAD PRINCESS by Kris Waldherr
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 30, 2018

"Power to the princesses, right on! (further reading) (Nonfiction. 10-14)"
The author of Doomed Queens (2008) examines "princess backlash" and asks: what makes a princess? Read full book review >
SACRED ANIMALS by Kris Waldherr
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

Using "sacred" in a very broad sense, Waldherr (Harvest, not reviewed, etc.) pairs luxuriant, romanticized portraits of 16 creatures (three of which are mythical) with related folk lore from diverse cultures, paraphrased legends, and bits of natural history. The artist shows a weak sense of design: a triple image of Noah's Ark behind the Dove is likely to bewilder young viewers, and both art and text are placed within distractingly wide, elaborate frames throughout. And though, to judge from the list of sources, she has done some research, statements like, "Tales of the vampire, or nosferatu, were spread throughout Europe by Gypsies," or "The name ‘butterfly' is often applied to a person whose major occupation is the pursuit of pleasure," are simplistic at best. The pictures convey a dreamy world in which the natural and supernatural are not so far apart—but collections like Mayo's Mythical Birds and Beasts from Many Lands (1997) offer better-told stories and deeper insight. (Folklore. 9-12)Read full book review >
THE BOOK OF GODDESSES by Kris Waldherr
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 15, 1996

An abecedary of 26 goddesses from cultures around the world. A bordered page of text faces a full-page watercolor illustration for each of the goddesses, from Athena to the Zorya (triple Russian goddesses like the Greek Fates). Waldherr includes Pele, the Hawaiian fire goddess; the Wawalak, aboriginal sister goddesses; and Yemana from the Cuban Santer°a; as well as more familiar goddesses like Diana, Freyja, and Kuan Yin. In attempting to cover so broad a field, however, the text is superficial and in some cases, misleading: the city of Venice was not named for Venus; the ancient Ascension Day ceremony that marries Venice to the sea has nothing to do with that goddess. The Navajo Changing Woman is Mother Earth, not ``a kind-hearted earth goddess,'' and is usually represented (unlike her image here) with the corn plant. The illustrations are picture-postcard pretty but evoke no sense of power or divinity. Further, in a book that seeks to be inclusive, many races and cultures are portrayed, but more than a third of the paintings depict blond goddesses. (pronunciation guide, bibliography) (Folklore. 10-14) Read full book review >
THE FIREBIRD by Robert D. San Souci
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 1992

While this earnest retelling details the magical gimmickry of the romantic Russian tale celebrated in Stravinsky's ballet, its humdrum style fails to capture the story's true magic, reducing it to a dungeons-and-dragons series of fortuitous adventures (```I have a magic talisman that will help us,' he said. `Now tell me about this wizard...Where is he now?' `Away on some mysterious errands,' she said''). Waldherr's oil paintings, ``applied over a golden acrylic underpainting,'' have a pleasant glow connoting the once-upon-a-time setting; they are skillfully composed, with grand, smoke-wreathed, many-headed dragons and gracefully painted details, such as flowing costumes and the Firebird's plumage. But the characters' gestures and expressions are as unimaginative as the text. As the only picture-book version in print, this may fill a need, though the story (in briefer form) is also included in Verdy's Of Swans, Sugarplums, and Satin Slippers (1991). (Folklore/Picture book. 5-10) Read full book review >