Charming and instructive: It’s as if Machiavelli had been turned upside down and given a good shake.

THE KING AND THE MAGICIAN

In a well-shaped original fairy tale, Argentine writer Bucay tells the story of a king who transforms from windbag to wise man with the help of an even wiser man.

As kings will do, he sees himself as the height of power, admiration and obedience; his subjects fear him. It comes to the king’s attention that a humble village magician possesses powers even greater than the king: He can see the future. The king sets an evil trap, inviting the magician to dinner and then posing the question: “Tell me the exact date of your death.” The magician replies: “[T]he magician of this kingdom will die the exact same day as his king.” That takes the wind out of the king’s sails. He must keep the magician safe, and in so doing, he spends much time in the old man’s company. Subconsciously, the king starts to ingest the magician’s advice, advice about justice, caring and love—and so the king begins to resemble the magician. Bucay’s text in an uncredited translation is appropriately folkloric and tinged with humor. Gusti’s artwork is a potpourri of dreamy shapes mingled with the sharp edges of turrets, tiles, cypress trees, a crescent moon and speckled clouds.

Charming and instructive: It’s as if Machiavelli had been turned upside down and given a good shake. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7892-1204-7

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Abbeville Kids

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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