Still, fun to play with despite flaws in design and execution.

READ REVIEW

ILLUMINATLAS

Big illustrations that look like garish jumbles resolve as if by magic into views of landforms, wildlife, and cultural treasures when viewed through colored plastic filters.

Using the same gimmick that made Illuminature (2016) and Illuminatomy (2017) eye-catching fare for browsers, this world tour features 10 double-page–spread assemblages in overlaid red, green, and cyan layers. Each main picture encompasses all or part of a continent. Each of these is preceded by a key that identifies 18 items to spot and is followed by brief descriptive notes on the designated “cultural highlights” and “natural wonders.” Peering through the three-window viewer tucked into a front pocket isolates single layers: green reveals a map; blue a selection of geographically relevant flora and fauna; red a set of iconic artifacts or buildings. The individual figures, which are done in a heavy, naturalistic style, resemble sophisticated steel engravings and have been pieced together with more of an eye for artistic effect than relative scale or logical arrangement. Moreover, the blue filter is so dark that the scene looks murky through it no matter how bright the lighting, and the notes are afflicted with factual and proofing errors—the Liberty Bell isn’t “a symbol of the fight to end slavery,” and “Columbia” is not a country.

Still, fun to play with despite flaws in design and execution. (Informational novelty. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78603-167-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers.

DON'T READ THIS BOOK BEFORE BED

THRILLS, CHILLS, AND HAUNTINGLY TRUE STORIES

A compendium of paranormal doings, natural horrors, and eerie wonders worldwide and (in several senses) beyond.

Maladroit title aside (“…in Bed” would make more sense, cautionwise), this collection of hauntings, cryptids, natural and historical mysteries, and general titillation (“Vampire bats might be coming for you!”) offers a broad array of reasons to stay wide awake. Arranged in no discernible order the 60-plus entries include ghostly sightings in the White House and various castles, body-burrowing guinea worms, the Nazca lines of Peru, Mothman and Nessie, the hastily abandoned city of Pripyat (which, thanks to the Chernobyl disaster, may be habitable again…in 24,000 years), monarch-butterfly migrations, and diverse rains of fish, frogs, fireballs, and unidentified slime. Each is presented in a busy whirl of narrative blocks, photos, graphics, side comments, and arbitrary “Fright-O-Meter” ratings (Paris’ “Creepy Catacombs” earn just a “4” out of 10 and black holes a “3,” but the aforementioned aerial amphibians a full “10”). The headers tend toward the lurid: “Jelly From Space,” “Zombie Ants,” “Mongolian Death Worm.” Claybourne sprinkles multiple-choice pop quizzes throughout for changes of pace.

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2841-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)

 

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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