A professional storyteller, Lupton retells seven stories in his repertoire from Chile, Greenland, India, Nigeria, North America, Russia and Scotland. The attractive page composition has spaciously placed text that rings with a storyteller's voice, while the digital collages use decorative borders to reflect ethnic characteristics. The flat dimension of the people and animals are offset by the richness of patterns, and spot art generates momentum to lead readers to each story's end. Only one tale is broadly familiar, "The Strange Visitor," from Scotland ("Once upon a time, in a dark wood, there was a dark house"). In a Seneca tale, a grouchy Winter bullies children, stealing their clothing for warmth, until tricky old Summer scotches his antics. From India comes the tale of a brave blackbird who takes on the King, when his servants trap the blackbird's wife to provide music in his palace. In these and the rest, the essence of the stories lives up to the title. Storytellers will welcome this collection, with sources provided and personal provenance to back them up, and the title will attract kids. (includes CD) (Folklore. 8 & up)


Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-258-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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Rushed pacing and ineffective character development keep the story from living up to its potential.


A young boy gets lost and then kidnapped on a school trip to Jamaica’s Cockpit Country.

High schooler Kemar McBayne is looking forward to the school’s Ecology Club trip, along with his older brother, Oshane, and his younger brother, Tyrik, who’s only 10. His contentious relationship with his little brother causes trouble when an act of mischief on Tyrik’s part almost immediately leads to Kemar’s separation from the group. Unable to make his way back to them, he is later found and befriended by a stranger who turns out to have ulterior motives and holds Kemar hostage in the notoriously difficult-to-navigate Cockpit Country. Kemar decides to try to figure out a way to escape his captor and return to his family. At the same time, Oshane is determined to find his brother despite the others’ support, eventually enlisting the help of one of the region’s Maroon communities in order to track him down. Elm includes interesting, detailed aspects of Jamaican geography and culture that help readers visualize the characters’ experiences. However, this aspect of the novel is not enough to make up for jumpy pacing and storytelling that fails to build suspense or create attachment to the characters or plot. Characters are mostly Black, with some secondary characters mentioned as having pale skin and foreign accents.

Rushed pacing and ineffective character development keep the story from living up to its potential. (Adventure. 8-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-976-8267-31-3

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Blouse & Skirt Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A deliciously hideous glimpse of what’s in store following the ongoing Anthropocene extinction.



An oversized pop-up survey of mutated life forms in the 49th century’s heavily polluted, still-radioactive Cagoan District, the ruins of a fictional future Chicago.

Readers in 4847 may be pleased by this report that the bioremediation of the devastated district is proceeding apace thanks to a “robust ecosystem” of recently evolved creatures who concentrate heavy metals, dissolve concrete, metabolize methane, and even consume the polycarbonate plastics once used to make CDs. Twenty-first century readers, on the other hand, will be positively thrilled by the eight examples—from the fiercely predatory brownfield pigeon, which lives on oil-soaked wastelands and so has developed wing pouches to carry offspring, to a rex roach the size of a puppy—that rear up from alternate spreads as layered, intricately articulated, near (or even more than) life-size models sculpted in muted monochromes. Solano (Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon, 2017, etc.) complements Sheehy’s (Welcome to the Neighborwood, 2015, etc.) stylized monsters with more naturalistic painted portraits on each following spread and charts the exotic menagerie’s sometimes-complex interrelationships at the end. Along with introductory remarks, the author provides helpful field notes on each selected subject’s physical characteristics, enhanced resistance to radiation, and general behaviors. This imaginative work will both entertain readers and provoke their concern over the state of our environment.

A deliciously hideous glimpse of what’s in store following the ongoing Anthropocene extinction. (author’s note) (Pop-up science fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8788-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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