Icarus Swinebuckle

Icarus Swinebuckle

by Michael Garland

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hazy, computer-generated illustrations lend a surreal quality to this tale of a pig who (ever so briefly) flies. Icarus Swinebuckle, a cobbler in 18th-century London, would rather build flying-machine models than repair his clients' shoes. Despite a frightening visit from his landlord, a long-nosed gray wolf named Mr. Gnawbone, Icarus persists in creating a pair of wings made from goose feathers and wax. Animals in waistcoats and breeches watch as the winged pig first soars above the rooftops, then plummets into the muddy Thames, where he "pop[s] to the surface like a fuzzy pink cork." Garland turns the original story of hubris into one of redemption and qualified success. Icarus fails to stay aloft, yet earns the admiration of his young son, his dissatisfied customers and even Mr. Gnawbone. Unfortunately, the images do not stir up sympathy for the visionary title character. Like the other animals in this eerie-looking book, Icarus has shiny eyes that dominate an amorphous face. The characters and settings look out of focus, as if viewed through the wrong contact-lens prescription, and the muddy palette of olive and gray adds to the unappetizing effect. Ages 7-9. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
"When pigs fly" takes on an added dimension in this retelling of the Icarus myth. Our hero, Swinebuckle, is a fine figure of a pig in his shoemaker shop in a vaguely 18th century London. But he is distracted from his work by watching birds and insects. He longs to fly himself, and the shop is full of models and drawings of flying objects among the shoes. The Holsteins, whose shoes still aren't ready, take their business elsewhere and his landlord the wolf Gnawbone is demanding the rent, but Icarus remains obsessed, showing his young son the shining wings he has built from wax and goose feathers. Finally, the whole town turns out to see Icarus fly, and he does, but like his namesake, gets too close to the sun, melts his wings, and plummets into the river, bobbing like "a fuzzy pink cork." The townsfolk—even his landlord—are impressed and Icarus and son go home to sketch out a flying ship. The admixture of 18th century dress, London streetscapes, and animal characters is a rather peculiar one, and the Swinebuckles themselves are pink and piggish in a computer-edged sort of way rather than anthropomorphically. Extreme close-ups and panoramic vistas create an edgy, surreal vision with the inarguable premise that dreams are more fun than work. (Picture book. 6-9)

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Product Details

Whitman, Albert & Company
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.31(w) x 11.36(h) x 0.43(d)
AD390L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 9 Years

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