A well-crafted, straightforward collection of the myths everyone needs to know.

GREEK MYTHS

STORIES OF SUN, STONE AND SEA

The fabled world of ancient Greece comes alive through these 10 myths that feature some of the most powerful gods, fearless heroes and amazing animals in literature.

“The Creation” introduces Titans Kronos and Rhea, who spawned the twelve Olympians, led by Zeus, god of the sky, and the collection plunges along from there. Clayton’s deft storytelling transitions readers easily from story to story, grounding them in a setting of mountainous islands dominated by the hot sun and cool blue sea. Readers meet Pandora, created at Zeus’ behest as a tragically curious beauty bearing gifts for the giant Epimetheus. The competition for the city of Athens between Athena, goddess of wisdom, and Poseidon, god of the sea, is seen as a struggle decided by a democratic vote. The grotesqueness of Medusa is countered by the human bravery of Perseus; the remorse of King Midas redeems him from his greed. The enchanting flying horse, Pegasus, aids Bellerophon in his conquest of the three-headed, fire-breathing chimera. Arachne’s transformation following her challenge of Athena brings the collection to a close. Each adventure or quest is followed by a very brief fact about Greece. Detailed and luminous, often diminutive watercolors and collage art illuminate each story’s theme.

A well-crafted, straightforward collection of the myths everyone needs to know. (map, notes, index of gods and heroes, sources) (Mythology. 7-9)

Pub Date: July 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-84780-227-9

Page Count: 78

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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Pretty but unexceptional considering the many comparable versions, conventional and otherwise, available.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

A plainspoken retelling of the classic tale with dreamy illustrations.

In an uncredited translation from Dutch, Leysen pairs a shortened and lightly massaged retelling of the LePrince de Beaumont version to diaphanous views of Belle—a strawberry-blonde white waif with exaggeratedly wide-set eyes over a rosebud mouth—and a well-groomed, goat-headed Beast who looks more vulnerable than fearsome. Hearing her father’s tale (complete with the Beast’s “Alright! I’ll let you live, on one condition…”), Belle rides off to durance far-from-vile, where she resists the Beast’s nightly proposals. When lonely Belle goes home to visit, she is drugged by her “lazy and insufferable” sister (there’s just one in this version), dreams of Beast’s decline, and wakes up “bathed in sweat” to hie back to the castle and declare her love. Next day at the wedding her sister is transformed by the fairy who had earlier transformed the Beast into a statue until “a kind prince would come by to melt her heart.” Belle’s bed in the pictures is different than the one described in the narrative, and occasional monochrome drawings serve no evident purpose except to make the suite of languid illustrations look unfinished.

Pretty but unexceptional considering the many comparable versions, conventional and otherwise, available. (Picture book/fairy tale. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-60537-251-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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Chicken sexer? Breath odor evaluator? Cryptozoologist? Island caretaker? The choices dazzle! (Informational picture book....

INCREDIBLE JOBS YOU'VE (PROBABLY) NEVER HEARD OF

From funeral clown to cheese sculptor, a tally of atypical trades.

This free-wheeling survey, framed as a visit to “The Great Hall of Jobs,” is designed to shake readers loose from simplistic notions of the world of work. Labarre opens with a generic sculpture gallery of, as she puts it, “The Classics”—doctor, dancer, farmer, athlete, chef, and the like—but quickly moves on, arranging busy cartoon figures by the dozen in kaleidoscopic arrays, with pithy captions describing each occupation. As changes of pace she also tucks in occasional challenges to match select workers (Las Vegas wedding minister, “ethical” hacker, motion-capture actor) with their distinctive tools or outfits. The actual chances of becoming, say, the queen’s warden of the swans or a professional mattress jumper, not to mention the nitty-gritty of physical or academic qualifications, income levels, and career paths, are left largely unspecified…but along with noting that new jobs are being invented all the time (as, in the illustration, museum workers wheel in a “vlogger” statue), the author closes with the perennial insight that it’s essential to love what you do and the millennial one that there’s nothing wrong with repeatedly switching horses midstream. The many adult figures and the gaggle of children (one in a wheelchair) visiting the “Hall” are diverse of feature, sex, and skin color.

Chicken sexer? Breath odor evaluator? Cryptozoologist? Island caretaker? The choices dazzle! (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1219-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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