A timeless fable about love and courage, well-told and beautifully illustrated.



In this illustrated tale, a young stag makes a dangerous journey to a legendary garden to get help when his herd is attacked by wolves.

Buckan, a young stag, is charged by his father to find the Great King Stag after their herd is attacked by wolves and the lions, their former allies, turn on them: “The King will know what to do. He is our only hope.” Buckan leaves behind the beech woods of home for a peril-filled climb to the Mountain Garden, where the Great King Stag lives. He dodges snarling wolves, his own panic and fear, and other dangers while meeting creatures like Bat, Crocodile and Salmon. The King appears to Buckan and willingly surrenders himself to Lion; just before his spirit leaves his body, the King tells the younger stag, “My brave friend, follow your heart with love and valour.” A black stallion tells Buckan: “You are ready to realize your destiny….When you connect to Mountain Garden, you remain strongly rooted in love. This will overcome fear.” Returning home, Buckan rallies the stags for a last desperate battle. In his debut book, Ottley presents a swiftly moving, muscular fable with evocative descriptions of the natural world: “[T]he bats began to rise up in the dawn sky, a magnificent cloud of fluttering silhouettes.” In a story that can be equally appreciated by adults and children, he makes tangible Buckan’s pain, fear and hope, helped by excellent use of traditional elements from fables and fairy tales, such as animal helpers and the journey motif. Holt’s black-and-white illustrations, with the active, brushy but serene feel of Japanese ink paintings, match the story well. There’s a downside, though, to the book’s philosophy, as expressed by Salmon: “I began to realise that my outer world reflected my inner thinking.” This comes dangerously close to blaming the oppressed for their oppression; besides, surely the outer world has agency, too.

A timeless fable about love and courage, well-told and beautifully illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0992776305

Page Count: 108

Publisher: Perpetualaum Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2014

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...


Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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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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