SUN HORSE MOON HORSE

In an effort to imagine the origin of the ancient White Horse of Uffington, cut into a hillside with what she feels to be a magical power, Sutcliff invents Lubrin Dhu, a chief's third son, who is somehow possessed of the true artistic impulse, a need to get into his impermanent drawings the feel and the flight of the birds—or of the horses which are at the center of his people's economy. But invaders from the South, also horse people, conquer their hold, and for the sake of the few of his people who survive the siege, Lubrin makes a bargain with the new chief. He will create the horse on the hillside, and in return his people will be free to move on to other, dreamed-of horse runs further north. Sutcliff refers to Lubrin's work as picture-magic, and though she never suggests any particular beliefs associated with the activity, it is understood by all that Lubrin's own ritual death must be part of the contract. And so Lubrin creates a horse worth dying for, even though he knows that a lesser work would satisfy the one who ordered it. Though Sutcliff has given us more rounded recreations in the past, and here as elsewhere her plot sometimes seems too well made, her vision of an artist simultaneously—in fact, indissolubly—true to his art and to his people is impressively realized.

Pub Date: March 20, 1978

ISBN: 0525404953

Page Count: 111

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1978

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CINDERELLA

This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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