Whimsical writing prompts in a vintage style for your inner Wes Anderson.

READ REVIEW

THE IMAGINARIES

LITTLE SCRAPS OF LARGER STORIES

Addressed in an opening note to “the one who finds this,” this collection of what Martin calls story scraps invites readers to stretch their creativity.

Martin presents a “misfit” series of narrative fragments, describing them as stories that don’t yet exist. Each spread features either a full-bleed or one-page illustration, rendered in delicate gouache and acrylics and accompanied by an intentionally cryptic, hand-lettered note, as if jotted on a scrap of paper. (“She hadn’t believed in the night garden.”) Most of the illustrations feature elegant portraits, many of tall, slender, doe-eyed, pale girls and women (including a mermaid) in nature. Refreshingly, two of the nonwhite humans have very dark skin instead of the lighter, ambiguous skin color used to signify diversity in so many picture books today. Occasionally, massive and mysterious sea monsters appear; after all, “the sea gives up its secrets slowly.” In both artistic style and tone, romantic is the vibe: Martin writes that she found one story fragment “in the roots of an English rose.” The tone momentarily shifts toward surreal when she paints a young girl at a birthday party with friends who have human bodies but large animal heads (a cat, a bear, etc.), but the more wistful tone dominates.

Whimsical writing prompts in a vintage style for your inner Wes Anderson. (Picture book. 8-15)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-55-351103-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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GIRL'S BEST FRIEND

From the Maggie Brooklyn Mysteries series

In this series debut, Maggie Sinclair tracks down a dognapper and solves a mystery about the noises in the walls of her Brooklyn brownstone apartment building. The 12-year-old heroine, who shares a middle name—Brooklyn—with her twin brother, Finn, is juggling two dogwalking jobs she’s keeping secret from her parents, and somehow she attracts the ire of the dogs’ former walker. Maggie tells her story in the first person—she’s self-possessed and likable, even when her clueless brother invites her ex–best friend, now something of an enemy, to their shared 12th birthday party. Maggie’s attention to details helps her to figure out why dogs seem to be disappearing and why there seem to be mice in the walls of her building, though astute readers will pick up on the solution to at least one mystery before Maggie solves it. There’s a brief nod to Nancy Drew, but the real tensions in this contemporary preteen story are more about friendship and boy crushes than skullduggery. Still, the setting is appealing, and Maggie is a smart and competent heroine whose personal life is just as interesting as—if not more than—her detective work. (Mystery. 10-13)

   

 

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 967-1-59990-525-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories.

PERCY JACKSON'S GREEK GODS

Percy Jackson takes a break from adventuring to serve up the Greek gods like flapjacks at a church breakfast.

Percy is on form as he debriefs readers concerning Chaos, Gaea, Ouranos and Pontus, Dionysus, Ariadne and Persephone, all in his dude’s patter: “He’d forgotten how beautiful Gaea could be when she wasn’t all yelling up in his face.” Here they are, all 12 Olympians, plus many various offspring and associates: the gold standard of dysfunctional families, whom Percy plays like a lute, sometimes lyrically, sometimes with a more sardonic air. Percy’s gift, which is no great secret, is to breathe new life into the gods. Closest attention is paid to the Olympians, but Riordan has a sure touch when it comes to fitting much into a small space—as does Rocco’s artwork, which smokes and writhes on the page as if hit by lightning—so readers will also meet Makaria, “goddess of blessed peaceful deaths,” and the Theban Teiresias, who accidentally sees Athena bathing. She blinds him but also gives him the ability to understand the language of birds. The atmosphere crackles and then dissolves, again and again: “He could even send the Furies after living people if they committed a truly horrific crime—like killing a family member, desecrating a temple, or singing Journey songs on karaoke night.”

The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories. (Mythology. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-8364-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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