BLOSSOM CULP AND THE SLEEP OF DEATH

From the Blossom Culp series , Vol. 4

Fans of the unflappable Blossom Culp and Alexander Armsworth, her unwitting companion in the occult, will welcome this fourth book about Blossom with open arms. The impoverished Blossom, a freshman in Bluff City High School's Class of 1918, and still an outcast (her mother, a gypsy fortuneteller, spends her nights roaming through Bluff City, stealing junk to resell as "antiques") is pleasantly surprised by her new history teacher. Augusta Fairweather is young, outspoken, and a supporter of the suffragette cause; she immerses her students in an unorthodox (for 1914) study of ancient Egypt. Blossom is fascinated, and no sooner has she delved into the mysteries of pyramids, tombs, and mummies than she is visited by the "spiritual self' of Princess Sat-Hathor, who has been buried (but not quite dead) for about 3800 years. The princess gives Blossom the task of recovering and returning to her Egyptian tomb "everything beautiful and necessary" that had been taken by thieves 50 years earlier. The deed seems nearly impossible, but Blossom enlists Alexander's begrudging help, and with the force of their combined powers and a lot of luck, Blossom manages not only to satisfy the demanding princess, but to give her nemesis, Letty Shambagh, her comeuppance. This story provides an engaging glimpse into the simpler, yet somehow not so different life-style of 70 years ago, while poking fun at the social structure of a small town. Blossom remains a memorable, indomitable character. If readers can overlook several unbelievable coincidences that help her accomplish her task, they'll enjoy this offbeat, spirited tale of a resourceful girl facing a challenge with courage and humor.

Pub Date: March 7, 1986

ISBN: 0440901251

Page Count: -

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1986

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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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