Hall of Beasts

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the opening pages of Shasha's ( Night of the Moonjellies ) second offering, a knowing old man leads his trusting granddaughter across ``a lonely stretch of beach,'' through the ``salty wind,'' to an old, abandoned inn once owned by a sea captain. The shorefront hotel, formerly celebrated for its magically lifelike mural of woodland creatures, has fallen into ruin and is about to be torn down. Unfortunately, following an introduction ripe with possibilities, Shasha's story loses its momentum: after learning that the painter of the mural has said, ``The animals must never be abandoned . . . or they will vanish at the first light of day,'' the reader will easily anticipate the course of the narrative. The absence of suspense instantly lowers expectations. Nor does the artwork fully deliver. The jacket image, with its foreboding shadows and spooky lettering, is far more atmospheric than the majority of the airy, pastel illustrations. Ages 4-7. Children's BOMC alternate selection. (June)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-A quiet, unusual picture book that celebrates the magic of art. Jennie and her family are enjoying a beach picnic when her grandfather tells her he has something special to show her inside an old inn. He explains that when he stayed there as a child, he was told of a mysterious stranger who created a beautiful mural in return for lodging. The artist had warned that if the animals he painted were ever ``abandoned,'' they would disappear. Jennie is eager to see the mural, but apprehensive about entering the dark and dilapidated building, which is to be torn down the next day. When she and her grandfather reach the Hall of Beasts, they are amazed to see the creatures leaping from the walls and running away. The man suggests that they are returning to ``some magical place,'' but Jennie believes that the line between reality and art may not be so clear. Shasha's attractive pastel illustrations are particularly effective in showing the interplay of light and shadow. They are somewhat static, however, so that in the climactic scene the beasts seem to be frozen in the act of escaping rather than to be fluidly moving across the page. While this title does not feature the absurd humor of Jon Agee's The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau (Farrar, 1988), it has down-to-earth charm that contrasts pleasantly with the unexpected ending.-Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671798932
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 6/28/1994
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.19 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.35 (d)

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