Books by Ludmila Zeman

LORD OF THE SKY by Linda Zeman-Spaleny
Released: April 14, 2009

Created by a Czech-born author-illustrator team of sisters, this vividly told cautionary tale was inspired by their parents' animated short film of the same name (1992). Long ago, before life itself, the Great Raven brought the sun to the North Pacific Coast, but ages later, when a boy kills a raven with an arrow, the sun vanishes. The legend's bird-loving boy-hero is the only one brave enough to get help from the Lord of the Sky, the Thunderbird, to restore the world's warmth and light. In the end, a small group of modern-day children is shown reverently regarding a bird, as the author implores a new generation to care for the world or lose it to darkness. The gorgeous, intricate pencil, colored-pencil and watercolor illustrations evoke richly hued tapestries, and the totem pole-laden coastlines are populated by cartoonish villagers and bug-eyed ravens that enliven the somber story. Unfortunately, the bold horizontal "sprocket holes" on every page, intended to link the book to the original film, distract the eye from the artwork's delicate beauty. (Picture book/folktale. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2001

Zeman, who has retold the story of Gilgamesh for children, here retells her second Sindbad (Sindbad, 1999) story. This is a spectacular beauty, set out as though woven into intricately detailed Persian carpets, each different part of the story residing in differently patterned and colored frames of varying sizes. As Sindbad safely reclines on silk cushions with a cup of tea, he recounts his adventures to the Porter. These involve being attacked onboard ship by wicked monkeys, caged by a clawed and hairy giant who plans to eat him and his fellow sailors, and escaping from a snake the size of a dragon. When he is finally rescued by those who would kill him for invading their country, he saves himself by telling his wild tale, convincing his captors that he must be more than a mere mortal. Zeman's art is particularly effective with her monsters: her hairy blue giant with his snaggly teeth and claws and her blue and gold serpent are scarily splendid. But it is her wonderful carpets that make Sindbad's assurance of more to come so promising. Zeman includes a double-paged map of Sindbad's voyages and in an author's note, she explains not only the source of the story of Sindbad, but a bit about what readers see in the pictures. (Picture book. 7-10)Read full book review >