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IMAGINARY MENAGERIE by Julie Larios Kirkus Star


A Book of Curious Creatures

by Julie Larios & illustrated by Julie Paschkis

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: April 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-15-206325-2
Publisher: Harcourt

Using poems and pictures, this modern bestiary proves a fascinating introduction to mythical creatures from different cultures. Beginning with the ever-popular dragon and ending with the familiar phoenix, the collection also includes the less well-known Russian firebird, the Old Testament cockatrice, the British hobgoblin and will o’ the wisp, the Egyptian sphinx and the Southeast Asian naga. Each creature is described in a poem capturing some of its unique features as well as its mystery. The mermaid is “part woman, part fish” who listens “to the waves break on the shore—half song, half roar,” while the gargoyle is a beast “with a stone tongue, with a stone throat” whose “mouth is a rainspout.” While the illustrations appropriately borrow elements from medieval illuminated manuscripts, including embellished capital letters, intricate curvilinear forms and brilliant colors, they also incorporate decorative forms from the cultural source. The firebird reflects Russian folk art; the trolls recall Nordic wood carvings; the thunderbird echoes tribal art of the Pacific Northwest. End-pages ingeniously unite the curious creatures providing the perfect start and finish to this little masterpiece. (glossary) (Picture book. 6-9)