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



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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Seuss, with 82 years and 44 books to his credit, is in better than "pretty good shape"; he's in top form with this book...


Over the past 30 years, Dr. Seuss has endeared himself to millions of youngsters (and harried older types) with his tales of such giggle-producing creatures as "The Cat in the Hat" and "Yertle the Turtle."

Now, finally, he's written a book for those he calls "obsolete children." It's the nicest thing to happen to "senior citizens" since Medicare. This time around, the Doctor enlists his jaunty rhymes and sprightly illustrations to present a not altogether tongue-in-cheek look at that unnerving ritual of aging, "the medical check-up." His reactions to the whole demeaning (and distinctly expensive) process are so wryly knowing he might well have entitled his opus "The Cynic in the Clinic." The medical profession, under Seuss' steady gaze, comes in for some hilarious—and pointed—joshing. The action takes place at the "Golden Years Clinic on Century Square for Spleen Readjustment and Muffler Repair." Here, after first undergoing an "Eyesight and Solvency Test" (the chart reads "Have you any idea how much money these tests are costing you?"), the grey-mustachioed hero meets a battery of specialists including "Von Crandall, the World-Renowned Ear Man" and "Dr. Pollen, the Allergy Whiz." These worthies pinch, prod and poke about in search of such maladies as "Prone Picker's Plight" and "Chimney Sweep's Stupor." Diets are devised—"What you like. . .forget it!" Seuss has a great deal of fun with the "Pill Drill," in which the hero must memorize the dosages of a bewildering medicinal array: "I take the pill with zebra stripes to cure my early evening gripes. . .This long flat one is what I take if I should die before I wake." Having mastered that challenge, he goes from being "properly pilled" to being "properly billed." Finally, socks, coat and pants restored, necktie back under his chin, he's pleased to assure himself, "You're in pretty good shape for the shape you are in."

Seuss, with 82 years and 44 books to his credit, is in better than "pretty good shape"; he's in top form with this book that's sure to delight "obsolete children," and even those of us who are merely obsolescent. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 1986

ISBN: 0394551907

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1986

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