A cursory if cheery guide.


The original grumpy cat imparts comics-making advice.

Garfield, the perpetually snarky, Monday-hating marmalade cat, explains the basics of drawing a strip to young readers. In four chapters, he presents a rudimentary overview of the process, including tips on main characters, expression, plot development, punchlines, building settings, and lettering. While the text is upbeat, Garfield’s trademark irreverence is showcased through reprinted comic strips and sidebar illustrations; when explaining essential setting details, king-of-the-catnap Garfield wisecracks that “chairs [and] beds” are “essential details.” Finnegan’s guide is best suited for the earliest beginner, as it offers such obvious instructions as, “the first thing you need is a pencil to draw with”; those looking for more comprehensive information may be audibly groaning at the lack of depth. For burgeoning artists hoping to learn to draw the lovably irascible feline, expect potential upset when they discover the only instructions show how to draw his head—not his entire body—and with five brief steps, it is superficial at best (though still more detailed than the instructions for Odie). Included is a five-term glossary, a section for further information (which, curiously, offers Garfield’s Twitter account as a place of interest), and an index. Cavils aside, Garfield’s iconic brand of humor is effectively captured, which may satisfy Davis’ devotees if not those looking to get a foothold in creating art.

A cursory if cheery guide. (index) (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-7468-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lerner

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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A welcome addition to any collection of folk tales.


While publishers in recent years have paid some attention to Asian folk tales, there has been a paucity of stories from Vietnam. This collection of 15 tales will fill the gap.

This Vietnamese-American storyteller’s tales are a mix of variations on familiar tales and tropes, cultural pourquoi stories and legends. Familiar folk-tale elements can be seen in many, such as “The Legend of the Mosquito,” “Why Ducks Sleep on One Leg,” “Why the Sea is Salty” and a "Cinderella" variant, “The Story of Tam and Cam.” Others are rooted in Vietnam. “Da Trang and the Magic Pearl” offers an explanation for the scuttling of crabs on the beach; “The Legend of Banh Chung and Banh Day” reveals the origins of the traditional foods of Tet; “Why One Shouldn’t Sweep the House on Tet Nguyen Dan” explains another Tet tradition. An introduction explains the significance of several key elements in Vietnamese tales. A publisher’s note at the beginning describes its mission: to provide books that connect East and West. Attractive watercolor illustrations by two Vietnamese artists are scattered throughout, and the appealing cover should invite readers.

A welcome addition to any collection of folk tales. (Folk tales. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8048-4429-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Tuttle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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A well-crafted, straightforward collection of the myths everyone needs to know.



The fabled world of ancient Greece comes alive through these 10 myths that feature some of the most powerful gods, fearless heroes and amazing animals in literature.

“The Creation” introduces Titans Kronos and Rhea, who spawned the twelve Olympians, led by Zeus, god of the sky, and the collection plunges along from there. Clayton’s deft storytelling transitions readers easily from story to story, grounding them in a setting of mountainous islands dominated by the hot sun and cool blue sea. Readers meet Pandora, created at Zeus’ behest as a tragically curious beauty bearing gifts for the giant Epimetheus. The competition for the city of Athens between Athena, goddess of wisdom, and Poseidon, god of the sea, is seen as a struggle decided by a democratic vote. The grotesqueness of Medusa is countered by the human bravery of Perseus; the remorse of King Midas redeems him from his greed. The enchanting flying horse, Pegasus, aids Bellerophon in his conquest of the three-headed, fire-breathing chimera. Arachne’s transformation following her challenge of Athena brings the collection to a close. Each adventure or quest is followed by a very brief fact about Greece. Detailed and luminous, often diminutive watercolors and collage art illuminate each story’s theme.

A well-crafted, straightforward collection of the myths everyone needs to know. (map, notes, index of gods and heroes, sources) (Mythology. 7-9)

Pub Date: July 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-84780-227-9

Page Count: 78

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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