ANDERSEN’S FAIRY TALES

Leffler’s small, delicately drawn and colored figures—part collage, and mostly of fairies or distant, elegantly posed people—add graceful visual notes to every spread of a collection that resembles many others, but does mix some less familiar tales in with the usual chestnuts. Readers may be disappointed that there’s no “Little Mermaid,” and no Emperor to be seen, clothed or otherwise, in the “Emperor’s New Clothes.” However, the grisly “Traveling Companion,” which features an abusive ghost and a sorcerer with a taste for human eyes, makes pleasantly chilling reading, and Andersen’s cutting style of humor definitely comes through in “The Sweethearts,” about a top who abandons his love for a leather ball when she turns old and ugly, and the closer, in which “Jack the Dullard” gets the Princess by displaying a rude sense of fun. Reichenstetter trims away some of Andersen’s descriptive and ornamental fancies to retell the 13 tales in formal but not stiff language. A good choice for a gift, or to showcase the author’s always surprising versatility. (Short stories. 10-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-7358-2141-5

Page Count: 96

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2007

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BEOWULF

“Hear, and listen well, my friends, and I will tell you a tale that has been told for a thousand years and more.” It’s not exactly a rarely told tale, either, though this complete rendition is distinguished by both handsome packaging and a prose narrative that artfully mixes alliterative language reminiscent of the original, with currently topical references to, for instance, Grendel’s “endless terror raids,” and the “holocaust at Heorot.” Along with being printed on heavy stock and surrounded by braided borders, the text is paired to colorful scenes featuring a small human warrior squaring off with a succession of grimacing but not very frightening monsters in battles marked by but a few discreet splashes of blood. Morpurgo puts his finger on the story’s enduring appeal—“we still fear the evil that stalks out there in the darkness . . . ”—but offers a version unlikely to trouble the sleep of more sensitive readers or listeners. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7636-3206-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2006

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MY LIFE IN DOG YEARS

Paulsen paid loving tribute to the sled dogs in his life in Puppies, Dogs and Blue Northers (1996) so gives eight more canine companions equal time: Snowball, who saved his life when he was seven, to Caesar, an enthusiastic Great Dane who "overwhelmed the furniture" but was gentle with children, to Fred, who did battle with an electric fence, to Quincy, who did battle with a bear that attacked the author's wife. Thoughtful, ironic, often hilarious, these vivid character portraits not only make winning stories, but convey a deep respect for all dogs: "They are wonderful and, I think, mandatory for decent human life." (Memoir. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32570-3

Page Count: 130

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1997

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