MR. MENDOZA’S PAINTBRUSH

The residents of the small Mexican town of El Rosario don’t quite know what to make of Mr. Mendoza and his omnipresent paintbrush. Is he merely a vandal, spreading snippets of esoteric nonsense around town with a few strokes of his brush? Or an overlooked philosopher who has explanations for life’s greatest mysteries? The self-described Mexican King of Graffiti, Mendoza spares no one the mischievous spitfire of his brush—neither El Rosario’s residents nor God Himself. When a series of unfortunate incidents befall the town—from the devastating storm that rains down corpses to the mine collapse that drags large swaths of town into a gaping abyss—Mendoza is there with paint-dripped commentary, urging residents to investigate the nature of life itself. Urrea’s delightful tale of morality and meaning is rendered masterfully by Cardinale’s boisterous illustrations, their bold outlines providing heft to the surrealism. This tale, in their steady hands, becomes a cheeky tour through elements of Latin pop culture: Hints of Romero’s horrors, Rivera’s aesthetics and García Márquez’s magical realism all make their appearance here. An enchanting exploration of life’s myriad mysteries. (Graphic fiction. 13 & up)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-933693-23-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Provocative fare for students of the themes and tropes of literary and traditional folk literature.

FEATHERS, PAWS, FINS, AND CLAWS

FAIRY-TALE BEASTS

Ten “vintage tales” chosen to challenge assumptions that fairy stories offer cut-and-dried values and life lessons for, specifically, children.

Reaching for an audience that is, as the editors put it, “beyond childhood,” the collection is introduced with an eye-opening analysis of “Little Red Riding Hood” (Perrault’s actual wording, it seems, hints that Little Red and the wolf weren’t exactly strangers) as part of a broad claim that fairy tales are often transgressive. The ensuing mix of original and traditional stories, all either written or first translated into English in the Victorian era, includes tales both familiar and un-. There’s “East o’ the Sun and West o’ the Moon”; “Ballad of the Bird-Bride,” which is a selkie variant featuring a sea gull; a “Puss-in-Boots” antecedent (“Costantino Fortunato”) from 16th-century Italy; and a Punjabi tale about a rat who almost parlays a bit of found root into marriage to a princess. For younger readers, the highlight is likely to be Joseph Jacobs' rendition of “The Story of the Three Bears,” as the home invader is not Goldilocks but a foulmouthed old homeless woman. But the selections are held up more for analysis than enjoyment, even Madame d’Aulnoy’s “Babiole,” which makes for labored reading despite an eponymous princess who spends most of the tale as a monkey. Kusaite’s visual jumbles of patterns and textures are as mannered as the 19th-century prose.

Provocative fare for students of the themes and tropes of literary and traditional folk literature. (source notes) (Fairy tales. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8143-4069-1

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Wayne State Univ. Press

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE RING OF SOLOMON

From the Bartimaeus series , Vol. 4

The entertainingly cocky djinni scraps his way through a 950 BCE escapade mostly unrelated to his series (The Bartimaeus Trilogy) but in that same metaphysical world. Any competent magician can summon Bartimaeus to Earth and enslave him, though none can suppress his amusingly snide commentary (complete with witty footnotes). Assigned to chase bandits outside a corrupt Jerusalem, he meets Asmira, a young woman whose third-person-limited narrative sections are told in a reserved, pragmatic voice. She treks to Jerusalem on a mission to assassinate King Solomon, who threatens her country of Sheba. Magical detonations enhance the tension as Asmira creeps closer to King Solomon and his world-controlling ring. Semi-success in her quest raises new questions, expanding her worldview and making her think in new ways. Despite Asmira’s likability, copious action and suspense, the text’s sharp elegance and Bartimaeus’s funny panache under duress, the prose moves slowly throughout, partly due to over-description. Best for worshippers of popular Bartimaeus and fantasy readers who don’t require a quick pace. (Fantasy. YA)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4231-2372-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more