Beautiful and reverent but perhaps not particularly relevant.

BOOKS! BOOKS! BOOKS!

EXPLORE THE AMAZING COLLECTION OF THE BRITISH LIBRARY

As the subtitle indicates, young bookworms are invited to “Explore the Amazing Collection of the British Library.”

“Explore” is the key word here, as the table of contents lists 21 potential discoveries among the library’s holdings. In its tour, the text capitalizes on the human-interest aspects of the collection, such as the facts that Shakespeare’s First Folio is kept in a bombproof, underground room and that the oldest surviving book produced in Europe, St. Cuthbert’s Gospel, was found in a coffin. Other monuments to the (mostly) English masterworks surveyed include Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species, Handel’s handwritten sheet music, and the original manuscript of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Questions to readers provide segues from one entry to the next; “Are you hungry after all that drama?” leads them from Shakespeare to the section on cookbooks. The watercolor-and-digital illustrations lend a fanciful, hodgepodge effect to the collection of literary tidbits. Varying typefaces play to the topics, as with the use of a Gothic type for The Canterbury Tales and a delicate scriptlike type for Jane Austen. The book effectively demonstrates the role of the British Library as custodian to a broad swath of British literary history. The question here is, who is the audience on this side of the Atlantic, particularly at a time when concerted efforts are being made to create a more diverse and inclusive canon? The Inside-Outside Book of Libraries, by Julie Cummins and illustrated by Roxie Munro (1996), is a little old but still provides a better introduction to the concept of libraries.

Beautiful and reverent but perhaps not particularly relevant. (thumbnail bios, glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9757-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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Though usually cast as the trickster, Coyote is more victim than victimizer, making this a nice complement to other Coyote...

COYOTE TALES

Two republished tales by a Greco-Cherokee author feature both folkloric and modern elements as well as new illustrations.

One of the two has never been offered south of the (Canadian) border. In “Coyote Sings to the Moon,” the doo-wop hymn sung nightly by Old Woman and all the animals except tone-deaf Coyote isn’t enough to keep Moon from hiding out at the bottom of the lake—until she is finally driven forth by Coyote’s awful wailing. She has been trying to return to the lake ever since, but that piercing howl keeps her in the sky. In “Coyote’s New Suit” he is schooled in trickery by Raven, who convinces him to steal the pelts of all the other animals while they’re bathing, sends the bare animals to take clothes from the humans’ clothesline, and then sets the stage for a ruckus by suggesting that Coyote could make space in his overcrowded closet by having a yard sale. No violence ensues, but from then to now humans and animals have not spoken to one another. In Eggenschwiler’s monochrome scenes Coyote and the rest stand on hind legs and (when stripped bare) sport human limbs. Old Woman might be Native American; the only other completely human figure is a pale-skinned girl.

Though usually cast as the trickster, Coyote is more victim than victimizer, making this a nice complement to other Coyote tales. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55498-833-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers.

DON'T READ THIS BOOK BEFORE BED

THRILLS, CHILLS, AND HAUNTINGLY TRUE STORIES

A compendium of paranormal doings, natural horrors, and eerie wonders worldwide and (in several senses) beyond.

Maladroit title aside (“…in Bed” would make more sense, cautionwise), this collection of hauntings, cryptids, natural and historical mysteries, and general titillation (“Vampire bats might be coming for you!”) offers a broad array of reasons to stay wide awake. Arranged in no discernible order the 60-plus entries include ghostly sightings in the White House and various castles, body-burrowing guinea worms, the Nazca lines of Peru, Mothman and Nessie, the hastily abandoned city of Pripyat (which, thanks to the Chernobyl disaster, may be habitable again…in 24,000 years), monarch-butterfly migrations, and diverse rains of fish, frogs, fireballs, and unidentified slime. Each is presented in a busy whirl of narrative blocks, photos, graphics, side comments, and arbitrary “Fright-O-Meter” ratings (Paris’ “Creepy Catacombs” earn just a “4” out of 10 and black holes a “3,” but the aforementioned aerial amphibians a full “10”). The headers tend toward the lurid: “Jelly From Space,” “Zombie Ants,” “Mongolian Death Worm.” Claybourne sprinkles multiple-choice pop quizzes throughout for changes of pace.

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2841-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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