Whimsical writing prompts in a vintage style for your inner Wes Anderson.

THE IMAGINARIES

LITTLE SCRAPS OF LARGER STORIES

Addressed in an opening note to “the one who finds this,” this collection of what Martin calls story scraps invites readers to stretch their creativity.

Martin presents a “misfit” series of narrative fragments, describing them as stories that don’t yet exist. Each spread features either a full-bleed or one-page illustration, rendered in delicate gouache and acrylics and accompanied by an intentionally cryptic, hand-lettered note, as if jotted on a scrap of paper. (“She hadn’t believed in the night garden.”) Most of the illustrations feature elegant portraits, many of tall, slender, doe-eyed, pale girls and women (including a mermaid) in nature. Refreshingly, two of the nonwhite humans have very dark skin instead of the lighter, ambiguous skin color used to signify diversity in so many picture books today. Occasionally, massive and mysterious sea monsters appear; after all, “the sea gives up its secrets slowly.” In both artistic style and tone, romantic is the vibe: Martin writes that she found one story fragment “in the roots of an English rose.” The tone momentarily shifts toward surreal when she paints a young girl at a birthday party with friends who have human bodies but large animal heads (a cat, a bear, etc.), but the more wistful tone dominates.

Whimsical writing prompts in a vintage style for your inner Wes Anderson. (Picture book. 8-15)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-55-351103-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories.

PERCY JACKSON'S GREEK GODS

Percy Jackson takes a break from adventuring to serve up the Greek gods like flapjacks at a church breakfast.

Percy is on form as he debriefs readers concerning Chaos, Gaea, Ouranos and Pontus, Dionysus, Ariadne and Persephone, all in his dude’s patter: “He’d forgotten how beautiful Gaea could be when she wasn’t all yelling up in his face.” Here they are, all 12 Olympians, plus many various offspring and associates: the gold standard of dysfunctional families, whom Percy plays like a lute, sometimes lyrically, sometimes with a more sardonic air. Percy’s gift, which is no great secret, is to breathe new life into the gods. Closest attention is paid to the Olympians, but Riordan has a sure touch when it comes to fitting much into a small space—as does Rocco’s artwork, which smokes and writhes on the page as if hit by lightning—so readers will also meet Makaria, “goddess of blessed peaceful deaths,” and the Theban Teiresias, who accidentally sees Athena bathing. She blinds him but also gives him the ability to understand the language of birds. The atmosphere crackles and then dissolves, again and again: “He could even send the Furies after living people if they committed a truly horrific crime—like killing a family member, desecrating a temple, or singing Journey songs on karaoke night.”

The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories. (Mythology. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-8364-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid.

JAKE THE FAKE KEEPS IT REAL

From the Jake the Fake series , Vol. 1

Black sixth-grader Jake Liston can only play one song on the piano. He can’t read music very well, and he can’t improvise. So how did Jake get accepted to the Music and Art Academy? He faked it.

Alongside an eclectic group of academy classmates, and with advice from his best friend, Jake tries to fit in at a school where things like garbage sculpting and writing art reviews of bird poop splatter are the norm. All is well until Jake discovers that the end-of-the-semester talent show is only two weeks away, and Jake is short one very important thing…talent. Or is he? It’s up to Jake to either find the talent that lies within or embarrass himself in front of the entire school. Light and humorous, with Knight’s illustrations adding to the fun, Jake’s story will likely appeal to many middle-grade readers, especially those who might otherwise be reluctant to pick up a book. While the artsy antics may be over-the-top at times, this is a story about something that most preteens can relate to: the struggle to find your authentic self. And in a world filled with books about wanting to fit in with the athletically gifted supercliques, this novel unabashedly celebrates the artsy crowd in all of its quirky, creative glory.

A fast and funny alternative to the Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-52351-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more