For the more sophisticated folk- and fairy-tale reader.

THE GLASS MOUNTAIN

TALES FROM POLAND

A satisfying retelling of eight Polish tales, paired with bold multicolor paper cuttings that employ traditional and modern motifs. 

The reteller-illustrator team has worked together before, but this time, the stories are from Pienkowski’s own home country, and Walser has combined his own research with the illustrator’s memories of childhood storytellers and his informal translations of tale variants. The reteller has made some additions, and no written sources are listed. The stories are lively and accessible, but several have dark underpinnings. “The Fern Flower” shows the evil side of humanity as Bogdan seeks to keep his magically found wealth to himself, even though he loses his mother and his dog because of his greed. Other tales include elements of stories known across cultures. “The Frog Bride” resembles “The Frog Prince,” but it also introduces Baba Jaga, similar to the Russian witch. The prince is told to destroy the frog skin of his princess so that she cannot return to her animal state, just as in the Celtic selkie stories or the Japanese crane wife tales. Walser invents a grandson for “The Trumpeter of Kraków,” the national tale of salvation, and this interpolation works. The sometimes-whimsical illustrations use silhouettes and collage and exhibit a range of clothing styles. The animals, both real and mythical, are especially effective.

For the more sophisticated folk- and fairy-tale reader.   (reteller’s foreword, illustrator’s note, glossary) (Folk tales. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7320-8

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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Come for the mystery, stay for the backmatter.

JULIETA AND THE DIAMOND ENIGMA

This gentle, fast-paced mystery will hook readers with interesting details.

Julieta Leal, 9, is a magnet for disasters. She has a reputation at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, where both her parents work, for making trouble. Julieta is just trying to help, and it’s not her fault that sometimes things get broken or she has a hard time following the rules. When Julieta’s dad invites her along on a trip to Paris regarding the loan of some pieces from the Louvre, she jumps at the chance to add another purple pin to her family’s world-travel map. She promises to be helpful and stay out of trouble and desperately wants to shed her reputation of being a liability. This proves difficult when the dazzling Regent Diamond is stolen and Julieta and her dad are implicated in the theft. With her dad’s job in peril and the prized gem missing, Julieta must rely on her keen observations and tenacity to clear their names. Detailed descriptions of Paris landmarks and factual information about museum pieces are woven naturally into the fast-moving plot so that readers come away with knowledge of these topics alongside a satisfying story. Several pages of backmatter notes bolster the learning. The endearing Julieta is bilingual, and she and her family are Mexican American.

Come for the mystery, stay for the backmatter. (glossaries) (Mystery. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64379-046-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Tu Books

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock”...

THE SINGING ROCK & OTHER BRAND-NEW FAIRY TALES

The theme of persistence (for better or worse) links four tales of magic, trickery, and near disasters.

Lachenmeyer freely borrows familiar folkloric elements, subjecting them to mildly comical twists. In the nearly wordless “Hip Hop Wish,” a frog inadvertently rubs a magic lamp and finds itself saddled with an importunate genie eager to shower it with inappropriate goods and riches. In the title tale, an increasingly annoyed music-hating witch transforms a persistent minstrel into a still-warbling cow, horse, sheep, goat, pig, duck, and rock in succession—then is horrified to catch herself humming a tune. Athesius the sorcerer outwits Warthius, a rival trying to steal his spells via a parrot, by casting silly ones in Ig-pay Atin-lay in the third episode, and in the finale, a painter’s repeated efforts to create a flattering portrait of an ogre king nearly get him thrown into a dungeon…until he suddenly understands what an ogre’s idea of “flattering” might be. The narratives, dialogue, and sound effects leave plenty of elbow room in Blocker’s big, brightly colored panels for the expressive animal and human(ish) figures—most of the latter being light skinned except for the golden genie, the blue ogre, and several people of color in the “Sorcerer’s New Pet.”

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock” music. (Graphic short stories. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59643-750-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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