MEDUSA

Lattimore (Cinderhazel, 1997, etc) presents the Medusa legend as an elaborate curse orchestrated start to finish by a savagely jealous goddess. Though her mother is “one part poisonous eel, one part giant water snake, and a third part woman,” Medusa is so beautiful that Poseidon himself is entranced. When Medusa gloats privately that she is more beautiful than Athena, the wrathful goddess rises up, changes her into a snake-haired gorgon, and then pushes young Perseus into hunting her down and beheading her. The penalty's extremity makes Medusa something of a tragic figure, and she looks in Lattimore's swirling, patterned paintings more magnificent than hideous—even beautiful in a scaly, pointy-toothed way. Though the tale is fleshed out with the first part of the story of Perseus, the “hero” comes off as barely more than an instrument of divine will here; expand standard versions of the myth, such as Warwick Hutton's Perseus (1993), with this female-centered take. (Picture book/folk tale. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-06-027904-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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JUDY MOODY SAVES THE WORLD!

McDonald’s irrepressible third-grader (Judy Moody Gets Famous, 2001, etc.) takes a few false steps before hitting full stride. This time, not only has her genius little brother Stink submitted a competing entry in the Crazy Strips Band-Aid design contest, but in the wake of her science teacher’s heads-up about rainforest destruction and endangered animals, she sees every member of her family using rainforest products. It’s all more than enough to put her in a Mood, which gets her in trouble at home for letting Stink’s pet toad, Toady, go free, and at school for surreptitiously collecting all the pencils (made from rainforest cedar) in class. And to top it off, Stink’s Crazy Strips entry wins a prize, while she gets . . . a certificate. Chronicled amusingly in Reynolds’s frequent ink-and-tea drawings, Judy goes from pillar to post—but she justifies the pencil caper convincingly enough to spark a bottle drive that nets her and her classmates not only a hundred seedling trees for Costa Rica, but the coveted school Giraffe Award (given to those who stick their necks out), along with T-shirts and ice cream coupons. Judy’s growing corps of fans will crow “Rare!” right along with her. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7636-1446-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2002

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WATCH OUT FOR SHARKS!

For shark fanciers, a look at a Los Angeles Natural History Museum exhibit, Sharks: Fact and Fantasy. Now touring the country, it includes models of large and small sharks, many of them swimming in simulated undersea settings. The text follows a group of young museum-goers as they examine shark teeth, fossil sharks, sharks in art, and a living shark embryo; shark anatomy, special adaptations, types of sharks, and some shark facts are also included. Photos are clear, colorful and engaging. Not comprehensive, but an attractive added purchase. Pronunciation guide; additional reading; index. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 1991

ISBN: 0-395-57560-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1991

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