Books by Miles Hyman

SHIRLEY JACKSON'S "THE LOTTERY" by Shirley Jackson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 11, 2016

"A haunting story of humanity's herd mentality, brilliantly rendered."
A stunning graphic adaptation of a chilling classic. Read full book review >
BLACK DIAMOND & BLAKE by Deborah Blumenthal
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 10, 2009

Black Diamond, a fictional champion racehorse, goes to a prison equine rehabilitation center after a career-ending injury, in this tale inspired by real-life prison programs. A young inmate, Blake, befriends him, and—happily-ever-after—adopts Black Diamond upon his own release. Unfortunately, Blumenthal's black-or-white attitude stacks the narrative deck: Black Diamond is a champion racehorse, not an ordinary one; a sinister man "with a fat wallet" tries to buy Black Diamond before the rehab program does (why would this be bad?); the prisoners other than Blake treat Black Diamond harshly (so the rehab program is inhumane?); Blake is in prison for stealing money to help his out-of-work father support the family (only prisoners with noble motives are worthwhile?). These extremes manipulate readers' emotions without presenting a realistic picture of such programs for readers. Overly sentimental third-person narration in Black Diamond's voice includes such clunky lines as "in a minute that grew heavy with time." Hyman's lovely pastels provide a 1950s feel, which seems at odds with the modernity of the rehab programs. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-8) Read full book review >
JULIA MORGAN BUILT A CASTLE by Celeste Davidson Mannis
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

The daughter of an engineer and the cousin of architect Pierre LeBrun, Julia Morgan was fascinated with how buildings worked from an early age. She graduated with an engineering degree from Berkeley in 1895, the only woman in her class, then went to France where she sketched and studied and worked at gaining admission to the École des Beaux-Arts (which made her take the entrance exam three times). She came back to California and had a successful career, most famously spending more than 20 years designing and building Hearst Castle (San Simeon). She did battle with tycoon William Randolph Hearst as he changed his mind and his priorities. The text is straightforward and a little dry, betraying little of the will it must have taken for Morgan to forge the career she wanted. Hyman's soft but brilliant colors capture light, space and structure wonderfully but are less successful with figures and faces. Still, an interesting subject for a young biography, one who is not represented anywhere else for this age reader. (author's note, San Simeon facts, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 8-11)Read full book review >
9 MAGIC WISHES by Shirley Jackson
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 13, 2001

In this brief, rather psychedelic episode, first published in 1963 with pictures by Lorraine Fox, a magician offers a child nine wishes. After wishing for an orange horse with a purple tail, a garden made of candy and the like, the young narrator leaves her ninth wish for someone else to find, and concludes, "Today was a very, very funny day." The magician turns into a leaf and blows away. Hyman, the author's grandson, re-illustrates the tale with literal depictions of the wishes, using an orange undercoating to cast a lambent, hazy light over each scene. Unsurprisingly, considering the author, there's something disquieting about this—but most children will just regard it as an invitation to make wishes of their own. (Picture book. 7-9)Read full book review >
BROADWAY CHICKEN by Jean-Luc Fromenthal
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

A good-natured story about Charlie, a dancing chicken, who is discovered on Canal Street, New York City, by an agent with dollar signs in his eyes. Soon Charlie conquers Broadway in a hit revue, flies to Hollywood and then—inevitably—ends up on the streets of New York, where he is found by his original owner and returned to his old home. Fromenthal's formulaic plot has several elegant touches, but center stage is Baker's able translation, all the more impressive because of the number of references, parodies, and chicken puns it contains, 90 percent of which are successful. Evoking a Chandler-esque New York and the Hollywood of Erich von Stroheim, the narrative is the dancing chicken in this book; the action and pictures—big pastel illustrations that are slightly scumbled, a little retro—are mere accompaniment. They just can't keep pace with the references in the animated, daring text. (Picture book. 5-9) Read full book review >
THE WAY HOME by Leigh Sauerwein
FICTION
Released: April 1, 1994

An author who was born in the US but whose previous books have been published in France makes a fine American debut with five stories set in the Midwest from 1853 to 1989 plus ``A Box of Pictures,'' an autobiographical-seeming piece suggesting their inspiration. After befriending a Native American man his mother has been avoiding—a troubled Vietnam War vet—a teenager discovers his own origins in a romantically old-fashioned denouement. Two lives reach a single turning point when a solitary young widow takes in a hungry stranger; the brazen hussy who provokes outrage among the other passengers when she and her ``slave'' board a steamer at Natchez swims free, discarding a blond wig, when she and her husband reach Illinois; a lonely little girl learns a tragic family secret—her aunt's Cheyenne husband and children were murdered by US soldiers; a child in a wheelchair encounters another courageous captive, the proud, still-wily Geronimo. In each gracefully written story, the circumstances pulse with drama that the author, wisely, understates while focusing on the spare descriptions and telling details that animate her characters and settings. At their best, compelling. (Short stories. 12+) Read full book review >