BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH

BIRD TALES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

From the creators of The Girl Who Dreamed Only Geese (1997), a less ambitious outing: five tales from a workshop run by Norman (15 years ago), illustrated with art that tries to look like leaded stained glass. Except for “The Bird Who Sang Like a Warthog,” which resembles Rodanas’s The Blind Hunter (2003), the stories are new. A “Disobedient Daughter” forces Goolayyahlee the pelican to teach Aboriginal people how to make fishing nets; a “Beautiful Quail” survives a drought in Sri Lanka thanks to the kindness of others; and the transformation of residents of a remote Chinese village into swans when they die becomes “The Swan-Scholar’s Great Secret.” All told in the same formal, restrained tone, the tales receive individuality from the names of the characters, and also from evocative motifs in the stylized art—though the Dillons’ use of a diffuse line makes the colors look watery. Norman identifies the original tellers in a long afterword that’s more about the workshop than the stories. Though handsomely packaged, this pricey gathering won’t draw or keep the interest of child readers or tellers. (Folktales. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-15-201982-0

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Gulliver/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2004

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one.

THE WILD ROBOT ESCAPES

Roz, a robot who learned to adapt to life among wild creatures in her first outing, seeks to return to the island she calls home.

Brown’s sequel to The Wild Robot (2016) continues an intriguing premise: What would happen to a robot after challenges in an unexpected environment cause it to evolve in unusual ways? As this book opens, Roz is delivered to a farm where she helps a widower with two young children run a dairy operation that has been in his family for generations. Roz reveals her backstory to the cows, who are supportive of the robot’s determination to return to the island and to her adopted son, the goose Brightbill. The cows, the children, and finally Brightbill himself come to Roz’s aid. The focus on Roz’s escape from human control results in a somewhat solemn and episodic narrative, with an extended journey and chase after Roz leaves the farm. Dr. Molovo, a literal deus ex machina, appears near the end of the story to provide a means of rescue. She is Roz’s designer/creator, and, intrigued by the robot’s adaptation and evolution but cognizant of the threat that those achievements might represent to humans, she assists Roz and Brightbill in their quest. The satisfactory (if inevitable-feeling) conclusion may prompt discussion about individual agency and determination, whether for robots or people.

If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-38204-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

KENNY & THE DRAGON

Reports of children requesting rewrites of The Reluctant Dragon are rare at best, but this new version may be pleasing to young or adult readers less attuned to the pleasures of literary period pieces. Along with modernizing the language—“Hmf! This Beowulf fellow had a severe anger management problem”—DiTerlizzi dials down the original’s violence. The red-blooded Boy is transformed into a pacifistic bunny named Kenny, St. George is just George the badger, a retired knight who owns a bookstore, and there is no actual spearing (or, for that matter, references to the annoyed knight’s “Oriental language”) in the climactic show-fight with the friendly, crème-brulée-loving dragon Grahame. In look and spirit, the author’s finely detailed drawings of animals in human dress are more in the style of Lynn Munsinger than, for instance, Ernest Shepard or Michael Hague. They do, however, nicely reflect the bright, informal tone of the text. A readable, if denatured, rendition of a faded classic. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4169-3977-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2008

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more