An eclectic anthology sure to provoke, amuse, and entertain.

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TAMAMO THE FOX MAIDEN

AND OTHER ASIAN STORIES

From the Cautionary Fables and Fairytales series

An ethnically diverse assembly of artists present graphic interpretations of Asian folktales ranging from silly or spooky to dark and mysterious.

The collection contains 21 stories unevenly representing the continent; 11 are from China or Japan, with four selections from India and one each from the Arabian Peninsula, Georgia, Tibet, Myanmar, Turkey, and Laos. The comics vary in length and popularity just as much as they do in the looks of their artistic styles. While the majority of retellings follow a traditional approach, some include modern touches. “#EndoftheWorld,” by Shannon Campbell and Lucy Bellwood, finds Makara, the vahana, or mount, of the river goddess Ganga from Hindu culture, communicating the imminent end of the world via Twitter. Most of the tales are stand-alone ventures; “Gold Sister, Silver Sister, and Wood Sister,” by Blue Delliquanti, is a sobering tale from Tibet about how a family that’s cruelly manipulated by a ghost eventually banishes her. Other, shorter comics give brief glimpses into larger legends; “From the Journey of the Monkey King,” by Gene Luen Yang, gives the backstory of how Pigsy comes to join the infamous Journey to the West. There’s a mix of light and dark themes; “Hoichi the Earless,” by Nina Matsumoto, tells how a monk successfully eludes ghosts—but not without a price. While some stories will inevitably stand out more than others, each black-and-white rendition is solid in its storytelling.

An eclectic anthology sure to provoke, amuse, and entertain. (Graphic traditional literature. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-945820-34-2

Page Count: 209

Publisher: Iron Circus Comics

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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GUTS

THE TRUE STORIES BEHIND HATCHET AND THE BRIAN BOOKS

Paulsen recalls personal experiences that he incorporated into Hatchet (1987) and its three sequels, from savage attacks by moose and mosquitoes to watching helplessly as a heart-attack victim dies. As usual, his real adventures are every bit as vivid and hair-raising as those in his fiction, and he relates them with relish—discoursing on “The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition,” for instance: “Something that you would never consider eating, something completely repulsive and ugly and disgusting, something so gross it would make you vomit just looking at it, becomes absolutely delicious if you’re starving.” Specific examples follow, to prove that he knows whereof he writes. The author adds incidents from his Iditarod races, describes how he made, then learned to hunt with, bow and arrow, then closes with methods of cooking outdoors sans pots or pans. It’s a patchwork, but an entertaining one, and as likely to win him new fans as to answer questions from his old ones. (Autobiography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32650-5

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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Lavishly illustrated and strongly atmospheric—as well suited for reading aloud as alone.

NORSE MYTHS

TALES OF ODIN, THOR AND LOKI

Twenty tales of gods, giants, and dwarfs, of mighty feats and epic trickery.

Veteran storysmith Crossley-Holland has presented versions of these extracts from the Prose Edda before, but here he recasts them into stately retellings that get extra measures of menace and gloom from the heavy shadows and big, indistinct figures that Love places on nearly every double-columned spread. Opening with tributes to the myths and to Snorri Sturluson, their medieval Icelandic recorder, the author moves on to the stories themselves. He includes such familiar episodes as the building of Asgard’s walls, Thor’s “wedding,” (which, what with its closing massacre, comes off as more grimdark than humorous, as played elsewhere), and the death of Balder within the frame story of the Swedish king Gylfi’s sojourns to Valhalla. There he hears from a mysterious, enthroned trio (some of the original source’s Christian inflections are left in for observant readers to notice) of Yggdrasil, the nine worlds, and, finally, the deaths of Odin and the rest. The major themes of deceit and violence play louder here than loyalty, justice, or some other positive value, and women (along with Bragi, the “pink cheeked and girlish” god of poetry) are relegated to minor roles. Still, the tales are colored as much by their depictions of courage in the face of certain ultimate doom as by the illustrations and are thus powerful in emotional resonance—not to mention chock-full of bold deeds, glittering treasures, and scary monsters.

Lavishly illustrated and strongly atmospheric—as well suited for reading aloud as alone. (schematic of the nine worlds, cast of characters) (Myths. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9500-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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