SEVEN WONDERS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD

The author of Rushmore (1999) and other visits to modern wonders turns to the seven originals—though, as he points out, the list only became set in stone (as it were) within the last 500 years, long after all but the Great Pyramid at Giza had vanished. Next to monumental, full-page views done with a severe formality reminiscent of Leonard Everett Fisher’s work, Curlee surveys what we know of each Wonder from ancient sources and modern archaeology. Though many mysteries remain, such as what the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus actually looked like (Curlee supplies four possibilities) or exactly where the Colossus of Rhodes stood, for most the size, materials, even sometimes the names of the artist-builders have been preserved—as well as each structure’s eventual fate. Curlee cites no books or Web sites to fan any flames of interest he might kindle, but he does supply a map. After references to other human-made Wonders past and present, he gathers his once-mighty subjects (quietly substituting Babylon’s Ziggurrat of Marduk, which has a more impressive silhouette, for the Hanging Gardens) for a final, to-scale, group portrait alongside the Statue of Liberty and the US Capitol. It’s a memorable tour, whether fueled by interest or class assignment. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-83182-X

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2002

THE SINGING ROCK & OTHER BRAND-NEW FAIRY TALES

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock”...

The theme of persistence (for better or worse) links four tales of magic, trickery, and near disasters.

Lachenmeyer freely borrows familiar folkloric elements, subjecting them to mildly comical twists. In the nearly wordless “Hip Hop Wish,” a frog inadvertently rubs a magic lamp and finds itself saddled with an importunate genie eager to shower it with inappropriate goods and riches. In the title tale, an increasingly annoyed music-hating witch transforms a persistent minstrel into a still-warbling cow, horse, sheep, goat, pig, duck, and rock in succession—then is horrified to catch herself humming a tune. Athesius the sorcerer outwits Warthius, a rival trying to steal his spells via a parrot, by casting silly ones in Ig-pay Atin-lay in the third episode, and in the finale, a painter’s repeated efforts to create a flattering portrait of an ogre king nearly get him thrown into a dungeon…until he suddenly understands what an ogre’s idea of “flattering” might be. The narratives, dialogue, and sound effects leave plenty of elbow room in Blocker’s big, brightly colored panels for the expressive animal and human(ish) figures—most of the latter being light skinned except for the golden genie, the blue ogre, and several people of color in the “Sorcerer’s New Pet.”

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock” music. (Graphic short stories. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59643-750-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

THE McELDERRY BOOK OF GREEK MYTHS

In these 12 retellings, the Immortals come across as unusually benign. Dionysius at first suggests to King Midas that he give his excess wealth to the poor, for instance; the troubles that Pandora releases are originally imprisoned in the box by Prometheus’s brother Epimetheus out of compassion for humankind; and it’s Persephone herself who begs for a compromise that will allow her to stay with her beloved Hades for six months out of every year. Kimmel relates each tale in easy, natural-sounding language. And even though his Andromeda looks more Celtic than Ethiopian (as the oldest versions of the story have it), Montserrat’s figures combine appropriate monumentality with an appealing expressiveness. The stories are all familiar and available in more comprehensive collections, but the colorful illustrations and spacious page design make this a good choice for shared reading. (foreword) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4169-1534-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2007

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