Not exactly seamless but spooky fun nonetheless.

READ REVIEW

ILLUMINIGHTMARE

Colored filters transform 10 haunted world sites from “Earthly” to “Supernatural.”

As in earlier outings from the Milan-based design collective Carnovsky (Illuminatlas, 2018, etc.), a chromatic layering technique makes the illustrations semiabstract tangles to the naked eye. They become three different scenes when viewed through the small squares of green, red, and cyan acetate provided. Though the gimmick doesn’t work all that well—there is considerable spillover from the red scene (which shows actual people and artifacts) into the green (buildings and architectural details), and the cyan collage of ghosts and horrors is murky even in very bright light—still, it does add distinct atmosphere to the mix of history and mystery at each stop, from the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg to San Juan Chamula Cemetery in Mexico’s Chiapas highlands and Bhangarh Fort in Rajasthan. The assorted images assembled in each superimposed picture are laid out and identified individually on subsequent pages with commentary that varies from eerie to tongue in cheek. Though Rasputin is misplaced in the “Supernatural” category and a claim that Howard Carter’s ghost haunts the Great Pyramid at Giza seems to be an invention, readers will find chills and chuckles alike, whether meeting the Black Forest’s “badly behaved monks and pagan witches” or paying a visit to Dracula’s Bran Castle, where “centuries of spirits linger, waiting to tell their tales of medieval megalomaniacs, bloodthirsty ghouls, heartbroken queens and socialist revolutionaries.”

Not exactly seamless but spooky fun nonetheless. (Informational novelty. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-547-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A few mild chills but bland and generic fare overall.

SPIRITED AWAY

FAIRY STORIES OF OLD NEWFOUNDLAND

Supernatural talk and tales from a Newfoundland poet and lifelong resident.

Being more “talk” than “tales,” the nine episodes are mostly reminiscences in which narrators of both sexes recall hearing about the encounters of others with eldritch folk in spooky settings, including a headless ghost, a changeling in their baby’s crib, flickering “corpse candles” in a graveyard, or in some cases just scary spots in the woods. Though Dawe supplies source notes with further anecdotes, it’s not clear whether he’s actually recording stories he heard or spinning fragmentary memories and standard folkloric motifs into fictive creations. In either case, despite atmospheric language and Tomova’s dark and eerie linocut illustrations, readers are likely to feel distanced by the second- (or third-) hand narratives. Nor, though the author often refers to real locales, is there much beyond a vaguely Celtic air to give the tales a flavorsome sense of specific place or culture. There is no sign of racial or ethnic diversity in either pictures or text.

A few mild chills but bland and generic fare overall. (glossary) (Folkloric short stories. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-927917-13-8

Page Count: 60

Publisher: Running the Goat

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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For a preteen who enjoys writing her thoughts and a mom whose relationship with her daughter is already good, this...

THE CARE & KEEPING OF US

A SHARING COLLECTION FOR GIRLS & THEIR MOMS

A “How-to-Say-It” package about preteen physical, emotional, and social concerns for mothers and their daughters.

The period between childhood and adulthood can be challenging to navigate. This boxed set includes two 48-page paperbacks, one for mom and one for her daughter, and a much longer blank journal with writing prompts for the two to share. They follow the pediatrician/author’s highly successful titles about girls’ changing bodies and feelings and a similar but preteen-directed journal some users have chosen to share with parents. Topics covered include personal concerns (hygiene, nutrition, exercise, sleep, safety, body changes, periods, beauty, clothing, eating disorders) and relations with the outside world of family, friends, the Internet, romance, and time management. Each double-page spread addresses a separate topic and includes “how to say it” prompts. There are conversation starters, talking tips, and sensible suggestions about negotiating the social-media world, including a sample family contract. Appealing cartoon illustrations show a range of girls and mother-daughter pairs who are clearly communicating. The “completely private” journal has color-coded pages to indicate mother, daughter, and joint entries, as well as similarly coded ribbons to mark pages. The pages labeled “TOP SECRET” seem to contradict the open approach.

For a preteen who enjoys writing her thoughts and a mom whose relationship with her daughter is already good, this well-meant offering might help ease the pair through a difficult time. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60958-978-3

Page Count: 92

Publisher: American Girl

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2015

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