These inscrutable, unsettling sculptures demand that viewers connect art and tale, examining their own reactions to the...

THE SINGING BONES

Tan’s latest book is a portable gallery: each spread features an artfully illuminated sculptural scene facing a paragraph-length “explanation”—an excerpt from one of 75 Grimm fairy tales.

Tan created 50 sculptures for Philip Pullman’s Grimms Märchen (2013), a 512-page collection of familiar and lesser-known tales, available only in German. To present his menagerie to English speakers, Tan here adds more stories and art, eliciting text and an introduction from scholar Jack Zipes. Lean, powerful dialogue and descriptions accompany pieces with complex patinas, textured settings, and provocative subjects acting out their vengeance, charity, jealousy, and love. The objects, inspired by Inuit and pre-Columbian figurines, are sculpted from clay over papier-mâché and finished with acrylics, oxidized metal powder, and shoe polish. An evil queen is blood red, all sharp edges. Cinderella’s gilded face is framed claustrophobically by a rough, conical hearth. The titular story features an older brother about to kill his sibling to win their father’s favor. Readers must turn to the summaries at the back of the book to understand this entry (and others). While some will find this format useful, others will yearn for a complete narrative in context; Tan encourages readers to use this alongside Zipes’ The Complete Fairy Tales (1987).

These inscrutable, unsettling sculptures demand that viewers connect art and tale, examining their own reactions to the darkest impulses and glimpses of light within the book—and themselves. (foreword, introduction, bibliography, afterword, annotated index) (Fairy tales. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-94612-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s.

GRIS GRIMLY'S FRANKENSTEIN

A slightly abridged graphic version of the classic that will drive off all but the artist’s most inveterate fans.

Admirers of the original should be warned away by veteran horror artist Bernie Wrightson’s introductory comments about Grimly’s “wonderfully sly stylization” and the “twinkle” in his artistic eye. Most general readers will founder on the ensuing floods of tiny faux handwritten script that fill the opening 10 pages of stage-setting correspondence (other lengthy letters throughout are presented in similarly hard-to-read typefaces). The few who reach Victor Frankenstein’s narrative will find it—lightly pruned and, in places, translated into sequences of largely wordless panels—in blocks of varied length interspersed amid sheaves of cramped illustrations with, overall, a sickly, greenish-yellow cast. The latter feature spidery, often skeletal figures that barrel over rough landscapes in rococo, steampunk-style vehicles when not assuming melodramatic poses. Though the rarely seen monster is a properly hard-to-resolve jumble of massive rage and lank hair, Dr. Frankenstein looks like a decayed Lyle Lovett with high cheekbones and an errant, outsized quiff. His doomed bride, Elizabeth, sports a white lock à la Elsa Lanchester, and decorative grotesqueries range from arrangements of bones and skull-faced flowers to bunnies and clownish caricatures.

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s. (Graphic classic. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-186297-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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An accomplished, exciting debut.

ALL THE STARS AND TEETH

From the All the Stars and Teeth series , Vol. 1

A princess embarks on a dangerous path to the throne.

In the island kingdom of Visidia, where each person is allowed just one type of magic, only the members of the royal Montara family have the ability to wield the dangerous soul magic. Princess Amora is next in line to be High Animancer, but she must first prove to her people that she is powerful enough to use her magic to protect them. But something goes terribly wrong during a critical public ceremony, and Amora runs away with dashing pirate Bastian, whose rescue comes with a price: She must help him recover his own magic, stolen away by a dangerous man leading a growing rebellion that could bring down the whole kingdom. Debut author Grace wields her own magic with a skillful balancing act between high-stakes adventure (here there be monsters, mermaids, and high-seas shenanigans), bloody fantasy, and character development in a story with a lovable found family at its core. Amora yearns for adventure just as she welcomes her right to command her kingdom; her ferocious sense of duty and legitimate need to do good shine through. The novel’s further unravelling of dark secrets long kept comes with a recognized need for accountability and making amends which adds a thoughtful extra layer to the rich worldbuilding. Amora has copper-brown skin and dark, curly hair; other characters have a range of skin tones in this diverse world.

An accomplished, exciting debut. (guide to the kingdom) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30778-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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