Komodo!

Komodo!

by Peter Sís
     
 

"Mad about dragons, the boy who narrates this picture book is pleased when his doting parents decide to take him to Indonesia, home of the Komodo dragon....[The boy] takes the road less traveled through the jungle, where he encounters the dragon of his dreams....Full of intriguing detail....picture book, original in concept and beautiful in design."—Booklist.See more details below

Overview

"Mad about dragons, the boy who narrates this picture book is pleased when his doting parents decide to take him to Indonesia, home of the Komodo dragon....[The boy] takes the road less traveled through the jungle, where he encounters the dragon of his dreams....Full of intriguing detail....picture book, original in concept and beautiful in design."—Booklist.

Author Biography: Peter Sis was born in Czechoslovakia and now lives in New York City with his wife and two children. His drawings appear regularly in The New York Times Book Review and other publications. He is the author-artist of The Three Golden Keys, Komodo!, Follow the Dream, and A Small, Tall Tale from the Far, Far North. He has illustrated several books by other authors, including Sid Fleischman and George Shannon.In His Own Words...

"I was born in the middle of the century and grew up in the magical city of Prague, Czechoslovakia, in the heart of Europe. My father was a filmmaker and explorer, and he brought back many interesting things from his travels to Tibet, Borneo, and other places all over the world.

"From early on, I was encouraged to make pictures by my mother and father, both artists, and by their artist friends. I was not always encouraged at school, where I used to draw little pictures on everything, for everybody, usually in the middle of class.

"I remember with great fondness what I thought of as the largest bookstore imaginable. It was our library at home. My mother's father designed railway stations in Cleveland and Chicago in the 1930s, and my mother lived in the United States as a little girl. When the family returned home, my grandfather brought back with him agreat many books, including a collection of all the Sunday cartoons from the Chicago newspapers bound in one large volume. I remember stretching myself over a page, and panel by panel devouring Little Orphan Annie, Mutt and Jeff, Krazy Kat, and the one with the little cable car.

"I went from art school to art school and had some wonderful teachers, especially J. Trnka, who was a famous illustrator and animator. I remember sometimes becoming so involved with a picture that I didn't notice the night was just about over. I would place the picture next to my bed so that I could see it first thing when I awoke. Things changed when my daughter, Madeleine, was born. I began to get up at night to look at the picture and my daughter. Now that my son, Matej, is here, my pictures remain out of the house in the babyproof studio, and I get up at night just to look at the children.

"I was lucky to have Quentin Blake as a tutor at London's Royal College of Art. By that time, I had already become involved with animated films. After my film Heads won a prize in Berlin in 1980, 1 did an animation series for TV in Zurich, Switzerland, and then another film in London. Before I knew it, I found myself working on a film in Los Angeles. But what I really wanted was to draw and paint my own pictures.

"On the advice of a wonderful friend, Josine lanco, I wrote to Maurice Sendak, hardly expecting him to write back. He didn't. He telephoned, first from the East Coast and then from Los Angeles, where he had come to be honored by the American Library Association. By then I had a hazy idea that I should go to the East to meet with children's book publishers.

"To my surprise, Mr. Sendak, after seeing my portfolio, in the last hours of the ALA convention, introduced me to Ava Weiss, Greenwillow's art director. I showed her my work, and she in turn introduced me to Susan Hirschman and Greenwillow. Shortly thereafter I started work on my first book, Bean Boy, by George Shannon. I moved to New York, and here I am, many books and some dozen years later. Before I had Madeleine and Matej, I thought the reason I did my books was to win medals and awards. Now I have received the Caldecott Honor and awards from the Society of Illustrators, the New York Times, the Boston Globe-Horn Book, and many international organizations. And what really matters to me is not awards but what children—and my own children in particular—think of my books. Now I do my books just for them. My children like my books, but they do not really know I am the author. I like it that way...."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A young aficionado of dragons gets the chance of a lifetime when his parents take him to the Indonesian island of Komodo, home to the Komodo dragon--the world's largest lizard, and the sole extant carnivorous dinosaur. The place proves a tourist trap, complete with a staged Dragon Show, but the unnamed narrator ventures into the jungle and has a fleeting but profoundly satisfying encounter with one of the creatures. Although Sis's story is, in the main, rather slight, dragon enthusiasts will be charmed by its mixture of fact (lots of information about the Komodo dragon is included) and fancy (the boy's improbable meeting). The book's true richness, though, lies in its illustrations--watercolors given texture by fine pen-and-ink hatching--which are almost as lush as the Indonesian landscape itself. They contain an abundance of detail and even sly jokes (``It is always easy to find me in school pictures because of my dragon T-shirt,'' the narrator proclaims, as he stands well camouflaged in a crowd scene worthy of Waldo). Moments of deliberate visual ambiguity add to the fun: is that jungle foliage we see, or a dragon's emerging form? Ages 4-up. (May)
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink Roffino
Monster-sized lizards reside on the island of Komodo, in Indonesia. This is the story of a young traveler who wants a close range sighting of the sole survivor of the dinosaur. Imaginative, precise, oversized pictures say more than the limited text.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-- A young boy's lifelong fascination with dragons takes him on a mystical journey to Indonesia. From cover to endpapers, there are dragons everywhere. On the title page, mysterious eyes peek out of the foliage-filled letters that spell Komodo! The boy's bedroom is bursting with dragon paraphernalia: live lizards lurk in leafy tanks, dragon toys hide in nooks and crannies, colorful dinosaur posters grace the walls--there's even a graphic of a dragon on the computer screen. In a living room decorated with dragon-bedecked wallpaper and rugs, the child's parents announce their plans for a trip to see a ``real dragon.'' After sailing to the island of Komodo, the family is disappointed to find a large throng of tourists. When the boy wanders off alone into the lush jungle, where cleverly drawn dragon shapes and features hide in vines and leaves, he finally comes face to face with a majestic Komodo dragon. By combining simple, straightforward sentences with carefully detailed, imaginatively designed drawings, Sis extends and enhances the text through a visual feast of images. His pen-and-ink and watercolor paintings have the texture of aged parchment and the charm of an antique map, adding to the adventurous mood of a safari. With its subtle environmental message and interesting facts about the largest monitor lizard, this picture-book fantasy successfully combines information with imagination. --Joy Fleishhacker, New York Public Library

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688166953
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/28/1999
Edition description:
1 MULBERRY
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 11.30(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
3 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Peter Sís is an internationally acclaimed author, artist, and filmmaker. Among his works are three Caldecott Honor books: The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain; Tibet: Through the Red Box; and Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei. He has illustrated five other novels by Sid Fleischman, including the Newbery Medal book The Whipping Boy. He lives with his family in New York State.

Peter Sís is an internationally acclaimed author, artist, and filmmaker. Among his works are three Caldecott Honor books: The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain; Tibet: Through the Red Box; and Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei. He has illustrated five other novels by Sid Fleischman, including the Newbery Medal book The Whipping Boy. He lives with his family in New York State.

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