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A quiet yet still somewhat swashbuckling tale of 18th-century piracy and colonial tension on a small French Island. Young Raphael arrives on the island with ornithologist Chevalier Despentes in hopes of finding the Bourbon Island dodo, despite its rumored extinction. Unbeknownst to Raphael and Despentes, the island is in the midst of a coup d’état engineered by pirates (known on the island as “Maroons”) to overthrow the governor and free their leader, Buzzard. When the two groups meet, conflict ensues, and Raphael—who has always dreamed of becoming a pirate—finds himself at the center of the clash. With historically based subject matter and simple pen-and-ink illustrations, this graphic novel is more reminiscent of Scott Chantler’s subtle Northwest Passage (2007) than a splashy Cap’n Jack Sparrow epic. With its population of symbolically selected anthropomorphized animals, it evokes such landmark works as Spiegelman’s Maus. Readers expecting the madcap silliness of Lewis Trondheim’s earlier A.L.I.E.E.E.N. (2006) and others may be disappointed, though history buffs will likely find this enjoyable. Discursive endnotes act as helpful historical anchors to connect the reader to this time. (Graphic fiction. 16 & up; adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59643-258-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: First Second/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2008

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Pitamic bites off more than she can chew with this instructional art volume, but its core projects will excite in the right context. Twelve pieces of fine art inspire two art projects apiece. Matisse’s The Snail opens the Color section; after history and analysis, there’s one project arranging multicolored tissue-paper squares and one project adding hue to white paint to create stripes of value gradation. These creative endeavors exploring value, shade, texture and various media will exhilarate young artists—but only with at best semi-successful results, as they require an adult dedicated to both advance material procurement and doing the artwork along with the child. Otherwise, complex instructions plus a frequent requirement to draw or trace realistically will cause frustration. Much of the text is above children’s heads, errors of terminology and reproduction detract and the links between the famous pieces and the projects are imprecise. However, an involved adult and an enterprising child aged seven to ten will find many of the projects fabulously challenging and rewarding. Art In Action 2 (ISBN: 978-0-7641-441-7) publishes simultaneously. (artist biographies, glossary, location of originals) (Nonfiction. Adults)


Pub Date: July 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7641-4440-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Barron's

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2010

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A rural, pleasantly ramshackle garage is the setting for this lively book. Each spread features the station and its forecourt, with a flurry of activity accompanying each turn of the page: The garage opens up for the day; a bashed-in car arrives; a brief squall soaks a lady, her swain, and their tony convertible. Over it all presides Mr. Fingers, a harmlessly gangsterish type in striped trousers and white jacket. Dupasquier (Andy's Pirate Ship, 1994, etc.) keeps the text quick, simple, and hand-in-glove with the illustrations (``Mick and Mack start to work on Mr. Walker's car. Pete serves the first customer''). These watercolors are equally nimble, deliberately cartoonish in the linework and saturated colors. The front and rear flap covers fold out with an array of questions and puzzles pertaining to the story. Bright, boisterous, fun; for children who take to the format, there are two companion volumes: A Busy Day at the Airport (ISBN 1-56402-591-8) and A Busy Day at the Building Site (592-6). (Picture book. 4+)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 1-56402-590-X

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1995

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