Lovely, but for art enthusiasts and book collectors more than for child readers.

READ REVIEW

BEASTS OF INDIA

An Indian import, this art book functions as an introduction to a variety of traditional art forms from the Indian subcontinent.

Pictures of animals are printed on brightly colored handmade paper on the recto, and the names of the animal and the art form are printed on the bottom of the verso. All the animals pictured are native to India: tigers, lions, bulls, snakes, crocodiles, monkeys, dogs, and elephants. By grouping the animals together—for instance, all the tigers appear together, followed by the lions, and so on—the book actively encourages comparisons among different forms of Indian folk art. An index at the end of the book provides readers with more information regarding the art style, the artist, and where the art originates. The tiger printed in the Pithora tribal art style, for example, is adapted from the original by the artist Paresh Ratva. The style is described as a “Ritual decorative art form, painted on the walls of houses, using natural earth colors”; it is native to the Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. The variations in line, palette, and level of realism are broad, giving readers a good sense of the vigor and diversity of Indian folk art. Although beautifully crafted, however, it is more an artifact than a traditional picture book. Each book is one of a limited printing of 3,000 and includes a framable print.

Lovely, but for art enthusiasts and book collectors more than for child readers. (Picture book. 8-adult)

Pub Date: June 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-93-83145-58-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Tara Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories.

PERCY JACKSON'S GREEK GODS

Percy Jackson takes a break from adventuring to serve up the Greek gods like flapjacks at a church breakfast.

Percy is on form as he debriefs readers concerning Chaos, Gaea, Ouranos and Pontus, Dionysus, Ariadne and Persephone, all in his dude’s patter: “He’d forgotten how beautiful Gaea could be when she wasn’t all yelling up in his face.” Here they are, all 12 Olympians, plus many various offspring and associates: the gold standard of dysfunctional families, whom Percy plays like a lute, sometimes lyrically, sometimes with a more sardonic air. Percy’s gift, which is no great secret, is to breathe new life into the gods. Closest attention is paid to the Olympians, but Riordan has a sure touch when it comes to fitting much into a small space—as does Rocco’s artwork, which smokes and writhes on the page as if hit by lightning—so readers will also meet Makaria, “goddess of blessed peaceful deaths,” and the Theban Teiresias, who accidentally sees Athena bathing. She blinds him but also gives him the ability to understand the language of birds. The atmosphere crackles and then dissolves, again and again: “He could even send the Furies after living people if they committed a truly horrific crime—like killing a family member, desecrating a temple, or singing Journey songs on karaoke night.”

The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories. (Mythology. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-8364-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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