Books by Natalie Jane Prior

SUN by Natalie Jane Prior
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

Lovely, subtle watercolors and a lyrical text are squashed into a board format that shortchanges both book and readers. The opening spread reveals a trembling dawn scene, the sun rising over trees and hills; fine lines connect the landscape to the sunbeams, establishing a welcoming relationship between land and nurturing light. "This is where the sun shines…" It shines on seal pups on a rocky island, songbirds in the forest and "wax-filled hives / where honey bees drone." In the companion book, Star (ISBN: 978-1-935279-07-5), a sailor's cat, a glowworm and a forgotten teddy bear enjoy a starry night. The overall effect in both is lovely, or would be, if they were full-sized books. The board-book audience is unlikely to respond to the delicacy of either illustrations or text—a sad mismatch of form and content. (Ages 3-5)Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2004

Lily Quench, the last of the dragon-slaying Quench family, continues her quest in the fourth offering in the series. This time, Lily and her flying dragon, Queen Dragon, travel to the enchanted island of Skellig Mor in search of one magic book that will help her protect her own Ashby homeland from old enemies. Lily's adventure includes ravenous sea dragons, one unhappy four-armed lighthouse keeper with a penchant for telepathy, and a magical cloak that allows her to fly. There is plenty of action here as Lily looks for her missing book, gets trapped in a cave, and learns that she has some magical powers of her own. Though this volume stands alone well enough, readers will want to go back to the first three works in the series to tie up loose ends. (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
Released: March 11, 2003

Not so much a research tool as a compelling browsing item, this crowd-pleasing Aussie import features articles, arranged in several alphabetically arranged topics, on famous mummies ancient and modern. It includes techniques of bodily preservation and of its modern study, plus such sidelights as head-shrinking procedures, the ill-fated Franklin Expedition that disappeared into northern Canada in the mid-19th-century, and "Exploding Kings and Queens." The author relates her tales with "eeewww"-inspiring relish: as Lord Nelson's body was preserved in a cask of spirits during its final voyage back to England, "ever since, British sailors have called a drink of rum ‘tapping the admiral.' " And after murderer William Corder was hanged, "the local hospital got his skeleton, as well as his brain in a bottle, and a leather shop in London got his scalp and one of his ears. Finally, Corder's skin was tanned like cow-hide and used to bind a book telling the story of his crime." Prior gathers examples from every continent except Antarctica, and closes with a child-friendly bibliography for readers who must, just must, know more. Though the illustrations are a disappointing scatter of small photos, filler, and artists' sketches, this is bound to be a popular choice for fans of the icky as well as budding forensic scientists. (index, glossary, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 9-11)Read full book review >