Deftly written but not quite traditional, a pleasing romantic story.

THE ROCK MAIDEN

A CHINESE TALE OF LOVE AND LOYALTY

A loving wife is turned to stone by a merciful goddess in this story spun from a Hong Kong legend.

Although that sounds the opposite of merciful, the goddess of fishermen, Tin Hau, is trying to help Ling Yee, a young and beautiful wife whose husband has disappeared in a terrible storm. Every day, Ling Yee, with her baby strapped to her back, climbs to a promontory where she can look out over the ocean and search for her husband’s sampan. For months, the young woman with the infant keeps watch and grows sadder. Her parents seek assistance from Tin Hau, also known as goddess of the sea, and the deity finally helps—in her own way. “One day, she decided that they should mourn no more.” The goddess turns the two into a rock formation, known in Hong Kong as Amah Rock, a tourist destination to this day. Amah usually means “nanny,” someone who takes care of children, but it can also mean “mother.” In this adaptation of the tale, Yim creates “a happier ending—where the husband finds his way home to his loyal wife and son,” and Tin Hau brings Ling Yee and her child back to life. Softly toned watercolors illustrate the sad story–turned-happy with grays and blues, modulating to warm yellow, orange, and red tones in the joyful moments.

Deftly written but not quite traditional, a pleasing romantic story. (author’s note) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-937786-65-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Wisdom Tales

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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A one-trick pony—and the visual trick is much better presented in Rufus Butler Seder’s actual Scanimation series.

NEW YORK IN PAJAMARAMA

A low-rent Scanimation-knockoff import features a small sheet of finely barred plastic that creates moiré patterns and streams of movement when slid across a set of large, garish abstracts.

Aside from a mention of Central Park in the text and a “Broadway” street sign in one illustration, there is nothing here specific to the Big Apple. Instead, a carrot-nosed cartoon figure in striped pajamas floats over swirls of short, bar code–like lines. These are transformed, by sliding the plastic sheet very slowly across the page, into aerial views of dots, circles and spinning wheels moving through intersections or vaguely urban settings. Some scenes toward the end become fields of flashing lights intense enough to make the cautionary note on the back cover (“WARNING: CONTAINS FLASHING IMAGES”) a good idea. After delivering commentary that runs to inane lines like “The traffic speeds in a tangled race, / but all roads lead to much the same place,” the PJ-clad guide flies back to bed with a “Wakey, wakey, rise and shine! / Goodbye my friend, / Until next time.” A “next time” is unlikely for most readers.

A one-trick pony—and the visual trick is much better presented in Rufus Butler Seder’s actual Scanimation series. (Picture book/novelty. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-907912-23-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Trafalgar Square

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

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A sugary take, distinguishable only in minor ways from those illustrated by Maja Dusíková (2012), Kuniko Craft (2002), and a...

SLEEPING BEAUTY

Borders of lacy wisteria and thorny wild roses add elegant atmosphere to this sweet version of the classic tale.

Sage and Gibbs’ rendition, based on the Grimms’ “Briar Rose,” ends with the marriage and goes for the empty calories, equally careless with details and eager to leave behind the grimmer aspects of the original. The “spindles” ordered burned in the wake of dark-skinned Malevola’s curse are spinning wheels in the pictures, as is the item on which Princess Rosebud at last (somehow) pricks her finger; when Prince Florizel arrives a century later, he wakes her (by kissing her hand). The joyous couple goes off to a happily ever after, thus avoiding the rape, secret marriage, and cannibalism featured in old versions of the story. Gibb makes effective use of silhouettes and also of a wordless spread to underscore the tale’s more melodramatic moments. Elsewhere, Rosebud and her royal parents, along with a flutter of tiny gossamer-winged fairies, float and gesture gracefully in sumptuous pink and pastel settings framed by lush (if sometimes thorny) floral garlands.

A sugary take, distinguishable only in minor ways from those illustrated by Maja Dusíková (2012), Kuniko Craft (2002), and a fairy coachful of like romantics. (Picture book/fairy tale. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8075-7351-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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