Books by Max Eilenberg

CINDERELLA by Max Eilenberg
adapted by Max Eilenberg, illustrated by Niamh Sharkey
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

A swirling surfeit of pink, purple and gold is draped around this crisp retelling of the traditional tale, as Cinderella attends three balls with her handsome prince before her glass slipper falls. Before she meets her beloved, blond, fair and willowy Cinderella suffers in servitude as her stepfamily prepares for the prince's ball. Once alone, the fairy godmother clothes the young lady in blue and sapphire attire, and she meets her prince; midnight fades her godmother's magic, and Cinderella returns without her identity revealed. The ball is repeated twice more with similar results: Cinderella dons silver and gold ensembles and briefly reunites with her love, leaving that slipper behind at the end. Strong pacing dances Cinderella toward her traditional destiny as the prince matches her slipper with the rightful owner, and her once-oblivious father is redeemed. While the cast of characters is not exactly diverse, Sharkey's slim lines and striking angles enhance her whimsical oil illustrations. However, the superfluity of shimmering pink hearts in the design skews this version toward the saccharine. (Picture book/fairy tale. 3-7)Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 2006

Barrett's finely wrought paintings create an appropriately dreamy, romantic atmosphere for this formal retelling of the classic tale. Eilenberg adds details, but keeps all of the essentials. Suddenly ruined, merchant Ernest Fortune and his beloved daughters Gertrude, Hermione and Beauty repair to unhappy poverty in a country cabin. But then, Beauty, who dreams of being swept off her feet by a handsome prince, offers herself in place of her father to the hideous, tortured Beast, and—though the spoiled older sisters suddenly disappear from the story at the end—all turns out splendidly. Using a subdued palette that opens in shadow but bursts into brighter hues at the climax, Barrett uses dress and details to give the story a late-19th-century setting, faces off a fair-skinned, chestnut-haired teenager with a forthright gaze against a towering, hunched, vulpine Beast and artfully fills in between dramatic full-bleed scenes with vignettes and sequential panels. As emotionally intense but not quite so dark as Nancy Willard's rendition, illustrated by Barry Moser (1992), this version will draw a profound response from its customary pubescent audiences. (Fantasy. 10-13)Read full book review >
SQUEAK’S GOOD IDEA by Max Eilenberg
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

What's a little elephant to do when he wants to play outdoors but everyone is too busy to accompany him? When Squeak finds himself faced with the prospect of going outside alone, he fortifies himself with a barrage of items—"just to be on the safe side." A bit apprehensive about stepping out on his own but resolute to enjoy himself, Squeak brings along winter gear, rain gear, and enough food to feed a family of four—which turns out to be an excellent notion, as his parents and younger sibling soon join him for an impromptu picnic. Eilenberg's (Cowboy Kid's Bedtime, 2000) comforting tale addresses a preschooler's emerging need for independence and the trepidation that this new desire sometimes evokes. Even before his parents arrive, Squeak discovers that he can enjoy his outing solo. Benson's (Owl Babies, 1996, etc.) ink-and-watercolor illustrations neatly capture Squeak's hesitancy and his determination to persevere. Warmly lit, the full-color drawings range in size from full page to smaller vignettes. Oversized type adds appeal to the already inviting format. Whether the expedition involves playing in the yard alone or heading off to school, Eilenberg's tale serves as inspiration for fledgling adventurers. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >