Billing Thor as the Vikings’ favorite god, because he was “the biggest, strongest and bravest,” a veteran talespinner smoothly retells five of his better-known exploits, from feeding a poor family on two goats that magically reconstitute themselves in the morning to getting his stolen hammer back by impersonating the goddess Freya. He comes across as a blustery but compassionate sort here, ever ready to defend the gods against trolls and Jotun (giants)—though his own mother was a giant—and to forgive even the pranks of his Jotun foster brother Loki. In Madsen’s big, luminous digital paintings, the Jotun and dwarves—beetle-browed, bull-necked and scowling—look particularly thuggish next to the handsome, graceful residents of Asgard. As in the tales themselves, the tone is more comic than violent. Though the stories are easy to find elsewhere (Bruce Coville’s rendition of Thor’s Wedding Day (2005), illustrated by Matthew Cogswell, is particularly uproarious), all together they make an engaging gateway to the many larger collections of Norse myths, and are equally suited to reading alone or aloud. (source and reading lists, glossary, pronunciation guide) (Folktales. 9-11)

Pub Date: June 18, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-618-47301-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007


Whirls of tiny, brightly dressed people’some with wings—fill Kleven’s kaleidoscopic portraits of sun-drenched Los Angeles neighborhoods and landmarks; the Los Angeles—based authors supply equally colorful accounts of the city’s growth, festivals, and citizens, using an appended chronology to squeeze in a few more anecdotes. As does Kathy Jakobsen’s My New York (1998), Jaskol and Lewis’s book captures a vivid sense of a major urban area’s bustle, diversity, and distinctive character; young Angelenos will get a hearty dose of civic pride, and children everywhere will find new details in the vibrant illustrations at every pass. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-525-46214-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999



Koller (Bouncing on the Bed, p. 143, etc.) portrays a Narragansett nickommoh, or celebratory gathering, from which it is very likely the tradition of Thanksgiving was drawn. As explained in an exemplary note—brief, clear, interesting—at the end of the book, these gatherings occurred 13 times a year, once each lunar month. The harvest gathering is one of the larger gatherings: a great lodge was built, copious food was prepared, and music and dance extended deep into the night. Koller laces the text with a good selection of Narragansett words, found in the glossary (although there is no key to pronunciation, even for words such as Taqountikeeswush and Puttuckquapuonck). The text is written as a chanted prose poem, with much repetition, which can be both incantatory and hackneyed, as when “frost lies thick on the fields at dawn, and the winged ones pass overhead in great numbers.” Mostly the phrases are stirring—as are Sewall’s scratchboard evocations—and often inspirational—for this nickommoh puts to shame what has become known as the day before the launch of the holiday shopping season. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-689-81094-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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