Using an ancient Egyptian creation myth from Heliopolis, and inspired by, but not bound to, Egyptian motifs, Hofmeyr and Daly offer a lovely pourquoi for the universe. In the beginning darkness, a lotus flower opened and Atum cast light into the world from its heart. Soon he blew across his hands and made Shu, the god of air, and Tefnut, the goddess of rain. These two teased and played, and their children were Geb, the god of earth, and Nut, the goddess of sky. Atum grew angry at Geb and Nut's closeness, and finally Shu had to keep them apart. Geb's struggle made hills and volcanoes and Tefnut's tears the plants; Nut was lifted high in an arch over Geb and Atum sprinkled her with stars so Geb could see her in the darkness. The children of Nut became the gods Osiris and others, and Atum retired to the sun, guided by Nut each day. The illustrations use line with great elegance, as Geb's body metamorphoses into hills and hillocks. Nut the sky turns from milky moonstone to deep lapis, and myriad blues and sweet greens set off the figures, for whom Egyptian conventions of hair, adornment, and skin tones are used. The language is complex enough so that this is best used as a read-aloud, and may go nicely with Tamara Bower's The Shipwrecked Sailor, another Egyptian story that speaks across millennia. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 22, 2000

ISBN: 0-374-37481-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.


From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.


After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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