Indian folk art triumphantly meets 17th-century English trick verse in this sophisticated graphic venture fit for middle...

I SAW A PEACOCK WITH A FIERY TAIL

Creative worlds collude and collide in this contemporary rendering of a well-known 17th-century English poem.

Seldom does a book review address a book’s design, but in this visual stunner from publisher Tara, the literal setting of the words is as key to the volume’s success as are its text and illustrations. Urveti, an acclaimed artist from Madhya Pradesh in central India, chooses for his subject an oft-anthologized anonymous circa-1665 “trick” poem, depicting the wily text with ravishingly detailed black-and-white pen-and-ink drawings in a style typical of Gond tribal art. The other third of this global collaboration is Brazilian designer Yamakami’s exquisitely thoughtful setting of the 12-line poem, which highlights the reflexivity of the six couplets. The meanings of these couplets can be gleaned reading each line with the rhyme from beginning to end, or—the tricky part—against it, from the middle of one line to the middle of the next. Take, for example, the poem’s opening: “I saw a peacock with a fiery tail / I saw a blazing comet drop down hail / I saw a cloud….” Through the use of intricate die cuts, Yamakami subtly leads readers from a spread featuring a plumped-up peacock to the image of a comet with its “fiery tail” of metaphorical “hail,” then to a cloud dropping the more literal icy phenomenon. These careful cuts draw readers through the work from cover to cover, brilliantly underscoring both the poem’s dizzying, dreamlike essence and its thematic obsession with the subjective nature of seeing.

Indian folk art triumphantly meets 17th-century English trick verse in this sophisticated graphic venture fit for middle graders on up. (Picture book/poetry. 10 & up)

Pub Date: May 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-93-80340-14-2

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Tara Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories.

PERCY JACKSON'S GREEK GODS

Percy Jackson takes a break from adventuring to serve up the Greek gods like flapjacks at a church breakfast.

Percy is on form as he debriefs readers concerning Chaos, Gaea, Ouranos and Pontus, Dionysus, Ariadne and Persephone, all in his dude’s patter: “He’d forgotten how beautiful Gaea could be when she wasn’t all yelling up in his face.” Here they are, all 12 Olympians, plus many various offspring and associates: the gold standard of dysfunctional families, whom Percy plays like a lute, sometimes lyrically, sometimes with a more sardonic air. Percy’s gift, which is no great secret, is to breathe new life into the gods. Closest attention is paid to the Olympians, but Riordan has a sure touch when it comes to fitting much into a small space—as does Rocco’s artwork, which smokes and writhes on the page as if hit by lightning—so readers will also meet Makaria, “goddess of blessed peaceful deaths,” and the Theban Teiresias, who accidentally sees Athena bathing. She blinds him but also gives him the ability to understand the language of birds. The atmosphere crackles and then dissolves, again and again: “He could even send the Furies after living people if they committed a truly horrific crime—like killing a family member, desecrating a temple, or singing Journey songs on karaoke night.”

The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories. (Mythology. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-8364-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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GIRL'S BEST FRIEND

From the Maggie Brooklyn Mysteries series

In this series debut, Maggie Sinclair tracks down a dognapper and solves a mystery about the noises in the walls of her Brooklyn brownstone apartment building. The 12-year-old heroine, who shares a middle name—Brooklyn—with her twin brother, Finn, is juggling two dogwalking jobs she’s keeping secret from her parents, and somehow she attracts the ire of the dogs’ former walker. Maggie tells her story in the first person—she’s self-possessed and likable, even when her clueless brother invites her ex–best friend, now something of an enemy, to their shared 12th birthday party. Maggie’s attention to details helps her to figure out why dogs seem to be disappearing and why there seem to be mice in the walls of her building, though astute readers will pick up on the solution to at least one mystery before Maggie solves it. There’s a brief nod to Nancy Drew, but the real tensions in this contemporary preteen story are more about friendship and boy crushes than skullduggery. Still, the setting is appealing, and Maggie is a smart and competent heroine whose personal life is just as interesting as—if not more than—her detective work. (Mystery. 10-13)

   

 

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 967-1-59990-525-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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