Superb versions for reading alone or for sharing with audiences large or small.

TREASURY OF GREEK MYTHOLOGY

CLASSIC STORIES OF GODS, GODDESSES, HEROES & MONSTERS

Oft-told tales retold with uncommon verve and outfitted with resplendent Art Deco–style portraits.

Napoli opens with the rise of the “mother force” Gaia to bring order to the whirling elements of Chaos and closes with the devastation of the Trojan War (“the doing of gods with too much time on their hands”). In between, she introduces over two dozen immortals and heroes—including Hestia, Helios and Selene among the better-known Olympians and their mortal offspring. While somehow managing to keep all the sex inexplicit (Aphrodite is born, for instance, from the “foam” produced by an unspecified body part ripped from her father Uranus), she lays out clear family lines. She pays close attention to her narrative’s tone and sound, capturing the nature of each god or mortal with vivid turns of phrase: Peaceable Hestia considers Zeus a “frightful maniac,” Orion grows up to become “an insufferably pompous nitwit” and Selene is left to pine, “silver sweet, and soft, and sad,” for her eternally sleeping lover, Endymion. Applying rippling strokes of intense color, Balit opens with a shimmering family tree of Olympians, heads each chapter with a stylized full-body image of a mythological figure with associated emblems and symbols and also contributes interior illustrations and thumbnail portraits for the closing summary cast list.

Superb versions for reading alone or for sharing with audiences large or small. (Mythology. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4263-0844-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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Superficial but kind of fun.

THE ADVENTUROUS KID’S GUIDE TO THE WORLD’S MOST MYSTERIOUS PLACES

Take a magic-carpet ride to far-flung and seldom-seen locations.

Readers can follow a young, pale-skinned, khaki-clad adventurer as they set out on their magic carpet to explore unusual, unexpected, and sometimes dangerous spots around the world. Locations visited include the exclusive interior of Air Force One, the remote depths of the Mariana Trench, and the (potentially) fatal shores of Brazil’s Snake Island, among others. Each adventure follows a uniform template, whereby the location is introduced in a sweeping double-page painting with an introductory paragraph followed by another spread of images and facts. The illustrations are attractive, a bit reminiscent of work done by the Dillons in the 1970s and ’80s. Alas, while the text correctly states that the Upper Paleolithic art in France’s Lascaux cave features only one depiction of a human, the introductory illustration interpolates without explanation a probably Neolithic hunting scene with several humans from a Spanish site—which is both confusing and wrong. Trivia fans will enjoy the mixture of fact and speculation about the various locations; a small further-reading section in the back points to more information. While the potentially off-putting choice of magic carpet as conveyance is never explained, there is a disclaimer warning readers that the book’s creators will not take responsibility if they suffer calamity trying to actually visit any of these places. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Superficial but kind of fun. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5159-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Magic Cat

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Trots in all the tropes except the cherry tree, but the rosy glow may not be misplaced considering his predecessor.

JOE BIDEN

A BIOGRAPHY FOR YOUNG READERS

A hagiographic portrait of the United States’ newest president-elect.

Gormley begins with Biden’s working-class origins, then retraces his development as a “natural leader” from roguish, family-centered senior class president to responsible and still family-centered national one. Focusing as she goes on values or character-revealing anecdotes and sound bites (including multiple early predictions that he would grow up to be president), she turns his father’s motto “if you get knocked down, get up” into a thematic mantra. Gormley portrays his career as a heroic march to the White House past both political challenges and wrenching personal tragedies. The author mixes frank accounts of the latter with heartwarming family stories like the time his sons, then 6 and 7, sat him down in 1976 and told him to marry Jill Jacobs. The author presents Biden’s early positions on, for instance, same-sex marriage or crime as either evolving or errors acknowledged in retrospect, dismisses allegations of sexual harassment, and frames his verbal gaffes as just foibles: “Obama was ‘the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.’ Oops. Joe Biden had spoken without thinking.” Side looks at relevant topics from trickle-down economics to the Electoral College inelegantly interrupt the text but serve to fill in some of the historical background, and the tactics and failures of the Trump administration, particularly to address the Covid-19 pandemic, get a good airing. The narrative ends the weekend after Election Day with an analysis of the challenges ahead. No illustrations or index were seen.

Trots in all the tropes except the cherry tree, but the rosy glow may not be misplaced considering his predecessor. (source notes) (Biography. 11-13)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7932-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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