A visually over-the-top paean to stories that still resonate today.

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MYTHOLOGICA

AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF GODS, MONSTERS AND MORTALS FROM ANCIENT GREECE

With its bold artwork in attention-grabbing, intense colors, this large-format collection of Greek myths and gods begs to be made into posters.

The fantastical images could come straight from 1960s album covers, mixing reality and symbolism, with a diversity of skin colors and some hint at gender fluidity—it’s definitely a mythology collection for a new generation. Full-page images fill one half of each spread on a particular personality while opposite are a few paragraphs and some smaller visual vignettes. Each entry includes a terse “Where” and What” section and the name of the figure in Greek, a unique feature of this enticing volume. The stories are told in a matter-of-fact, contemporary style. Writing about Ares, part of the description reads: “His most famous partner was the goddess of love Aphrodite. Even though she was married to Hephaestus they had lots of kids together.” Four stories are singled out for greater focus: those of Heracles, Odysseus, the Trojan War, and Jason and the Argonauts. Occasionally the visuals don’t correlate with the text. “The Fates were ugly, lame, old women,” it claims, but the artist depicts them as three handsome, brown-skinned women. This mythological encyclopedia should certainly encourage readers to find the new graphic-novel adaptations of the myths or Homer’s epic poems themselves, although the book lacks sources or a bibliography.

A visually over-the-top paean to stories that still resonate today. (Cosmology. 11-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-193-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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An emphasis on character over events gives this some appeal to readers on both sides of the political…wall.

JOHN MCCAIN

AN AMERICAN HERO

Admiring portrait of the late war hero, politician, and presidential candidate.

Although she begins by quoting his doting grandpa (“that boy has the stamp of nobility on his brow”), Gormley largely steers clear of outright hagiography. After recounting “Johnny” McCain’s family history and some youthful wobbles, she describes in some detail his years as a horrifically injured and mistreated prisoner of the North Vietnamese. Following his return, a “habit of moving forward, always forward in life” propelled him into politics as an outspoken “maverick,” with an irritating (to his colleagues) tendency to value principles over expediency. His marriages and children receive less mention than the rises and falls of his political fortunes or the details of his legislative work on campaign finance reform and other initiatives on the way to becoming a rare, if not always raised, voice of dissent in the Senate during President Donald Trump’s administration. Many readers may find his hawkish views on foreign policy hard to stomach and rightly view the author’s efforts to make him seem almost an ally of President Barack Obama’s with skepticism. Still, his achievements, as well as his undeniable personal and political courage, make him a notable figure. The profile concludes just prior to his death in August 2018 before closing with a detailed timeline and a large list of sources—but, oddly, no index (nor are there any illustrations).

An emphasis on character over events gives this some appeal to readers on both sides of the political…wall. (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4386-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

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MUMMIES, BONES, AND BODY PARTS

The author of the award-winning Mummies & Their Mysteries (1993) returns to the intriguing subject of mummies. Here she explains how they are formed, how scientists use a variety of sophisticated techniques to learn about peoples and cultures of long ago, and some of the controversies surrounding the study of human remains. As with the previous title, the photographs presented here are striking, from the Inca child who appears on the front cover, to the mummy of Egyptian King Seti I, which appears on the back. Other photographs show some of the first tattoos, details of the Iceman, an Italian child who died of smallpox 400 years ago, the remains of light-haired Caucasian mummies from Xinjiang, China, and the well-preserved bodies of Philip Calvert, governor of Maryland from 1660 to 1661. The science is impressive, as carbon-14 dating, CT scans, DNA profiling, and X-rays are used to solve ancient mysteries. What were the people like? What did they eat? When did they die? What caused their death? What were the diseases they suffered? The author also discusses the controversies as different cultures clash over studying human remains. She mentions the Native American Graves Protection and Reparation Act which gives Native Americans control over native remains buried on government land or held in collections owned or funded by the government, and discusses former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s, efforts to house Egyptian mummies in a more dignified way. Though Wilcox discusses respect for the dead, she nonetheless pictures the controversial “Human Body Art” of German artist Gunther von Hagens, and “Sylvester,” a mummy used to greet customers in a shop in Seattle. Also pictured are the remains of an outlaw put on display for 65 years as a moneymaking exhibit for a funeral parlor. The author concludes with a glossary, extensive bibliography including Web sites, and a detailed index. Intriguing science, dramatically presented. (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2000

ISBN: 1-57505-428-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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