With picture books seeming to hew to ever more minimalist approaches, this retelling of a Norse myth, rich with adventure...

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ARTHUR AND THE GOLDEN ROPE

From the Brownstone's Mythical Collection series , Vol. 1

An unlikely hero rescues his Icelandic village in this picture-book retelling of “The Binding of Fenrir.”

Mr. Brownstone—a white, white-bearded narrator in a plaid suit—welcomes readers to his family vault, wherein lie artifacts collected over thousands of years from all corners of the globe. His “most treasured possession” is his book collection. The books contain long-forgotten stories told by Brownstone’s ancestors, and the narrator segues into the tale of a young, white Icelandic adventure seeker named Arthur. When young Arthur explores a forest in search of a magical worm species, he encounters Fenrir, a monstrous black wolf, who heads straight for his village and puts out its great fire, without which the town will freeze and its people die. Through research, exploration, and bravery, Arthur receives guidance from Thor and Odin in order to defeat and capture Fenrir and his minions. British debut storyteller Todd-Stanton’s elaborate Icelandic- and Norse-inspired depictions plunge readers into the deepest parts of the mythic story, centering a young boy rather than a god as the pivotal hero. Cool blue-greens contrast with warm orange-reds to illustrate an intricate world from another time. Clear narration and smatterings of wordless panels catapult readers into this first adventure in a new series.

With picture books seeming to hew to ever more minimalist approaches, this retelling of a Norse myth, rich with adventure and mystery in a wonderfully picturesque package, comes as an opulent treat. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-911171-03-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A close encounter of the best kind.

FIELD TRIP TO THE MOON

Left behind when the space bus departs, a child discovers that the moon isn’t as lifeless as it looks.

While the rest of the space-suited class follows the teacher like ducklings, one laggard carrying crayons and a sketchbook sits down to draw our home planet floating overhead, falls asleep, and wakes to see the bus zooming off. The bright yellow bus, the gaggle of playful field-trippers, and even the dull gray boulders strewn over the equally dull gray lunar surface have a rounded solidity suggestive of Plasticine models in Hare’s wordless but cinematic scenes…as do the rubbery, one-eyed, dull gray creatures (think: those stress-busting dolls with ears that pop out when squeezed) that emerge from the regolith. The mutual shock lasts but a moment before the lunarians eagerly grab the proffered crayons to brighten the bland gray setting with silly designs. The creatures dive into the dust when the bus swoops back down but pop up to exchange goodbye waves with the errant child, who turns out to be an olive-skinned kid with a mop of brown hair last seen drawing one of their new friends with the one crayon—gray, of course—left in the box. Body language is expressive enough in this debut outing to make a verbal narrative superfluous.

A close encounter of the best kind. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4253-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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Eeney meeney miney moe, catch this series before it goes! (Adventure. 7-9)

DANGER! TIGER CROSSING

From the Fantastic Frame series , Vol. 1

Two kids get up close and personal with some great works of art in this first in a new series.

Tiger Brooks is used to his little sister’s fantastical stories. So when the top-hatted orange pig she describes turns out to be not only real, but a next-door neighbor, Tiger enlists the help of his kooky new friend, Luna, to investigate. It turns out the pig works for the reclusive painter Viola Dots. Years ago a magical picture frame swallowed up her only son, and she’s searched for him in artworks ever since. When Tiger’s tinkering starts the magic up again, he and Luna are sucked into a reproduction of Henri Rousseau’s Surprised! or Tiger in a Tropical Storm, hungry predator and all. After meeting and failing to rescue Viola’s son in this adventure, the series is set up for the intrepid pair to infiltrate other classic paintings in the future. Backmatter provides information on the real Rousseau and his life. Oliver keeps the plot itself snappy and peppy. While there are few surprises, there’s also an impressive lack of lag time. This is helped in no small part by Kallis’ art, which goes from pen-and-ink drawings to full-blown color images once the kids cross over into the painting. Tiger is a white boy, and Luna is a dark-haired Latina.

Eeney meeney miney moe, catch this series before it goes! (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-448-48087-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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