Homer himself would be agog.

READ REVIEW

THE ODYSSEY

A POP-UP BOOK

A highlight-reel version of Odysseus’ journey home, framed as a graphic novel and plastered with fantastically dramatic pop-ups and other special effects.

Opening with Penelope working on a tapestry that transforms into an entirely different scene with the drop of a step-flap, the tale plunges on into the many escapes of Odysseus and his crew: from Polyphemus, from Circe, the Sirens and (after visiting the land of the dead) from Scylla and Charybdis. Then it’s on to Ithaca for a slaughter of suitors with a bow strung with real string, peace at last after Zeus rears up to get everyone’s attention with a foil thunderbolt and a final clinch between Odysseus and Penelope as their connubial bed levitates to reveal the deep tree roots beneath. Ita (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 2008) tells the tale in balloons of colloquial dialogue (“Where have you been for the last twenty years?” “Well, sweetheart, it’s an awfully long story”). Well-defined sequential panels give way to larger scenes of Polyphemus getting it in the eye with a sharpened log, of a ship with oars that row frantically with pulls of a tab, of Circe turning a man into a pig in a particularly masterful bit of paper engineering and other climactic moments. As transitions range from quick to nonexistent and the order in which gatefolds should be lifted isn’t always evident, some familiarity with the original is recommended—but even newbies will be riveted by this nonstop, high-energy retelling.

Homer himself would be agog. (Pop-up classic. 10-13)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4027-5867-6

Page Count: 8

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)

 

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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ONCE UPON A MARIGOLD

From the Marigold Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Cold indeed is the heart not made warm by this bubbly fairy-tale romance. Raised by a kindly forest troll, Christian knows little of the world beyond what he can see through his telescope, but gazing upon a nearby castle, he falls head over heels for Princess Marigold. What chance has he, though, as a (supposed) commoner? When at last he nerves himself to send her a message via carrier pigeon, she answers and the courtship is on—via “p-mail” at first, then, after he lands a job as a castle servant, face to face. Setting numerous fairy-tale conventions just a bit askew, Ferris (Of Sound Mind, 2001, etc.) surrounds her two smart, immensely likable teenagers, who are obviously made for each other, with rival suitors, hyperactive dogs, surprising allies, and strong adversaries. The most notable among the last is devious, domineering Queen Olympia, intent on forcing Marigold into marriage with a penniless, but noble, cipher. The author gets her commonsensical couple to “I Do” through brisk palace intrigue, life-threatening situations, riotous feasting, and general chaos; Queen Olympia gets suitable comeuppance, and the festivities are capped by the required revelation that Christian is actually heir to the throne of neighboring Zandelphia. Fans of Gail Carson Levine’s Princess Tales will be in familiar territory here, as well as seventh heaven. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-15-216791-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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