As in an illuminated manuscript, the artwork shimmers in this verse catalogue of creatures from mythology and folklore, a sequel of sorts to Yellow Elephant: A Bright Bestiary. Outshining the quiet poems, Paschkis's gouache paintings adorn the title of each poem with a gracefully illustrated initial. The "P" of "Phoenix" is shaped like a wing, and the W of "Will o'the Wisp" consists of espaliered tree limbs. Although the paintings create a unified whole, stylistically each evokes the country of its beast's origin. The firebird's tail, for example, resembles a lacquered Russian miniature, and the Thunderbird looks like a Tlingit carved raven. The poems themselves are both thoughtful and appropriate, describing each creature's characteristics and also nimbly drawing readers directly into the imaginary scene: "Troll arms will grab you/ and put you in a pot." Readers unfamiliar with some of the more exotic creatures-the cockatrice, naga or hobgoblins-will appreciate the brief, historical descriptions found on the book's last page. An altogether intriguing collection. Ages 6-9. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Imaginary Menagerie: A Book of Curious Creaturesby Julie Larios
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Who is half gallop, half walk? Who can turn you to stone with one look? Whose voice do you hear in the splash on the shore? Centaurs, mermaids, and other curious creatures populate these wondrous poems and paintings, inspired by a mythological world full of imagination and mystery. Includes end notes about cultures and legends.
Larios's poems, some with rhyme, draw vivid verbal pictures of fourteen imaginary creatures, from dragon and mermaid to gargoyle and phoenix. She asks of a centaur, "Can he be half man, half horse?/ The answer is no./ And yes, of course." Hobgoblins "do the chores." The Sphinx, "The riddle maker/ is silent now." We even meet naga of the seven heads from Southeast Asia. The gouache paintings of the visual versions of these creatures are far more fanciful, more complex, than the facing poetic texts. Each dominates a rectangle of appropriate color upon which are objects that elaborate on the narrative. The ugly Troll couple tends a large pot under a carved wooden bridge; upon the murky green background are the bugs and a rat that are mentioned. The Thunderbird's encapsulated gray patterns create a demanding design. Decorated initial upper case letters add information and help tie the text to the paintings. A final page adds information about each creature. Do not miss the endpapers. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Gr 2-5- Dragons, centaurs, hobgoblins, and 11 other mythical creatures of worldwide origins feature in Larios's short poems and Paschkis's distinctive folk paintings. Caught for eternity in compromising situations, some creatures, such as the gargoyle, wax melancholy. "How can a beast fly/with stone wings?/I fly when the bells ring/and the hunchback is home ." As in Yellow Elephant: A Bright Bestiary (Harcourt, 2006), this bright compendium pairs each poem with a richly drawn and colored scene. An element from the painting is echoed in a decorative letter announcing the poem's title. Though brief, the selections sometimes carry sophisticated cultural references, making this title more relevant to an older audience than the earlier collection. Of the thunderbird, for instance, Larios writes, "Cedar scented,/he carries the wind/in his bent beak./Rainmaker./Whale hunter./Great Tlingit chief." The final page carries a brief paragraph describing the area of origin and the behavior of each creature. It's all a quick and alluring peek at some of the best-known denizens of folklore. Storytellers and classroom teachers will find many uses for these poetic nuggets and the art, both of which will be savored by folklore and fantasy readers of all ages.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 6 MB
- Age Range:
- 6 - 9 Years
Meet the Author
JULIE LARIOS is the author of several picture books and is a prizewinning poet for children and adults. She is on the faculty of the Vermont College Writing for Children and Young Adults program and lives in Seattle, Washington.
JULIE PASCHKIS has illustrated numerous books for children and has had her paintings featured in many gallery shows. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
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