BURIED BLUEPRINTS

MAPS AND SKETCHES OF LOST WORLDS AND MYSTERIOUS PLACES

Lorenz and Schleh (House, 1998, etc.) have wonderfully imagined 14 places or structures made famous by myth and legend, offering wry commentary and myriad details to pore over. This book literally starts at the beginning, covering the Garden of Eden, the Ark, and the Tower of Babel; Lorenz and Schleh travel with Odysseus around the Aegean and with Robin Hood and his men through Sherwood Forest, wreak havoc with Genghis Khan, and foster menace with Dracula. Each locale is given a page-long introduction, before a gatefold page reveals an outsized illustration elegantly crammed with detail, incident, and witticisms (so much so that a magnifying glass has been included). The utterly transporting artwork is a marvel of color and visual narrative, with plenty of humor (Noah’s ark comes equipped with methane vents), quietly biting commentary (the page of the Ark is bordered by drawings of endangered species), and quests that readers can embark on within the illustrations. Within these pages are funny details for the Where’s Waldo? set, with a sophisticated comedic embrace for older children, and some set pieces, dry as tinder, that will spark laughter in onlooking adults. (Picture book. 7+)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8109-4110-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1999

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AN AMISH YEAR

Readers follow a fourth grade Amish girl named Anna through the four seasons in a gentle tale from Ammon (An Amish Christmas, 1996, not reviewed). Perhaps in the spirit of Amish culture, the book does not engage reader through flashy illustrations or a kitschy plot. Instead, it offers a sense of serene assurance that arises from this community that is attempting to live according to its set of beliefs. Anna’s life, as with all Amish, revolves around the seasons, home, and farm. Hard work, milking the cows, tending the vegetable garden, and school take up most of her time, but that does not preclude fun; there is a time and place for everything in her life, including play when the work is done. Like the “English” (non-Amish), Anna and her friends enjoy softball, volleyball, flying kites, sledding, etc. Ammon makes Anna approachable, subtly revealing the similarities between her life and readers’ while illuminating the fundamentals of Amish culture. The well-researched, luminous illustrations resonate with the beauty of this life and are an integral part of the book. For a hurly-burly society, the notion of families gathering and caring for one another in an extended network of aunts, uncles, and cousins is inviting and accessible. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-82622-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

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AUNT PITTY PATTY'S PIGGY

Aylesworth and McClintock (The Gingerbread Man, 1998) tackle the story of the old woman whose pig won’t go over the stile, hindering her from going home. Here, the fat piggy is purchased at the market, but when it arrives home, it won’t go through the gate. The old woman, in this case Aunt Pitty Patty, enlists her young niece Nelly to go fetch help. Nelly implores a dog to bite the pig, a stick to hit the dog, a fire to burn the stick, water to douse the fire, etc. All the while, the piggy is parked by the gate reciting, “No, no, no, I will not go.” Aylesworth’s addition of the rhyming refrain preserves some of the cadence of the traditional tale, while softening the verbs (“hit” instead of “beat,” the rope “ties” instead of “hangs,” the butcher is to “scare” instead of “kill”) usually associated with it. McClintock emphasizes expression over action, and employs the same dainty brown line and soft watercolor wash of this team’s previous book. (Picture book/folklore. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-89987-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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