The balance between information and attractive bookmaking is always important, but atlases like the National Geographic...

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THE BAREFOOT BOOKS WORLD ATLAS

Retro-looking maps with pictures of animals, transport, famous landmarks and traditional dancers fill the pages of this mediocre atlas.

The text emphasizes environmental changes and sustainability, with proportionately less information on people. Organizationally, it starts with the oceans, including the two polar areas, and then explores the landmasses. Short, factoid-heavy paragraphs on physical features, climate and weather, natural resources, environment, wildlife and transport accompany each deeply colored map, and in the appropriate regional sections, a paragraph on people and places is added. Although the disproportionately sized pictures of landmarks, natural resources, generic people and miscellany on the maps are identified ("Omani man"; "bus"), too often they are not further explicated. Occasional fold-out pages and small, inserted “Did You Know?” booklets give the illusion of interactivity. Providing comparisons on carbon footprints (“a person in the UAE [United Arab Emirates] on average emits 15 times more than a person in China”) is vital information that seems at odds with the childish maps. A separate wall map (in the same style) is included. The woeful index includes only entries for country names, followed by their capitals.

The balance between information and attractive bookmaking is always important, but atlases like the National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers (2007) still remain the gold standard. This struggles to meet the bronze one. (glossary, index, sources; companion app not seen) (Reference. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-84686-333-2

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Aug. 24, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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WHEN APPLES GREW NOSES AND WHITE HORSES FLEW

TALES OF TI-JEAN

Il était une fois…” French Canada’s version of beanstalk-climbing Jack gets a rare outing in three tales refashioned from old sources by a veteran storyteller. Preserving the lightest touch of a French inflection—“Cric, crac, / Parli, parlons, parlo. / If you won’t listen, / Out you go”—Andrews sets her naïve but teachable everylad up against a trio of opponents. There is a grasping princess who tricks him out of a magic belt, moneybag and trumpet; a murderous little man who sets him on numerous impossible tasks after beating him at marbles; and a harsh seigneur who insists on chucking his intellectual daughter’s suitors into the dungeon when they prove to be less clever than she. Thanks to hard work, a little magic and a winning way with the ladies, Ti-Jean ultimately comes out on top in each episode while never allowing lasting harm to come to anyone and is ever magnanimous in victory. Illustrated with frequent scribbly, lighthearted ink-and-wash scenes and vignettes, these stories read with equal ease silently or aloud and offer a winning introduction to a universal folk character. Equally charming is the source note, in which Andrews describes the origins of the tales and how she worked with them. “Sac-à-tabac, / Sac-à-tabi. / The story’s ended, / C’est fini.(Folktales. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-88899-952-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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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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