Monday, June 28, 2021

ATHENA: GODDESS OF WISDOM AND WAR by Imogen Greenberg. Illus. by Isabel Greenberg. New York:  Amulet Books, 2021. 96p. ISBN: 978-141974859-2 hc. $14.99     Gr. 3-8    JUV

This first book in the Tales of Great Goddesses series is a collection of epic stories, condensed into a graphic novel where the illustrations carry the same importance as the shortened text.  It’s a great way for readers to absorb a lot of information quickly, while sparking an interest in mythology.  Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, in full text, can wait until college.  After an introduction to some notable characters, the story begins with Athena’s miraculous birth, springing forth from the head of Zeus.  She then claims the city of Athens from her formidable uncle Poseidon, raises her nephew to be a king, has a weaving contest with Arachne, and summarizes her part in the Trojan War.  She proves to be intelligent and just, but can turn into a jealous and meddling adversary.  Overall, Athena ranks high on the list of Greek gods and goddesses.  Can’t wait to see more in this series.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, June 21, 2021

ARLO DRAWS AN OCTOPUS by Lori Mortensen. Illus by Rob Sayegh, Jr.  New York:  Abrams Books, 2021.  32p.  ISBN 978-1419742019 hc. $16.99     PreS - Gr. 1     E PIC

Inspired by something the readers don't know about, Arlo came home one day ready to draw an octopus.  He concentrated on each part of the octopus, but the completed drawing wasn't what he envisioned.  Feel discouraged, he bumped into an octopus who was drawing a picture of a boy.  As it turns out, Arlo and the octopus were more accepting of each other's drawings than their own.  What could possibly happen when they started drawing elephants together?  Sayegh's two-page illustrations stand out against a light background, leaving plenty of space for a few easy-to-read sentences on each spread. He makes Arlo's crayon drawings come to life.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, June 14, 2021

OH LOOK, A CAKE! by J.C. McKee.  New York: Clarion Books, 2021. 32p. ISBN 978-035838030-6 hc. $18.99     Gr. K-2     E PIC

When two jungle friends come upon a decorated birthday cake, their curiosity takes hold.  Sloth and Lemur start to speculate about whose cake it could be.  They wonder what elephant, tiger, and peacock would do with the cake, as well as python, rhinoceros and others.  Readers will be amused with the illustrations, especially imagining cutting the cake in pieces small enough to share with an army of ants.  Don't miss the surprise ending! 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, June 7, 2021

BEFORE THEY WERE ARTISTS: Famous Illustrators as Kids by Elizabeth Haidle.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021.  64p.  ISBN: 978-132880154-8 hc. $17.99     Gr. 3-6     J 704

Learn about six notable illustrators who found fame by adding their artistic talents to children's books.  This graphic novel presents short biographies of  Wanda Gag, Maurice Sendak, and Tove Jansson, Jerry Pinkney, Yuyi Morales, and Hayao Miyazaki, all 20th century illustrators,  The graphic format of the book makes each story easy to follow for younger readers, but includes plenty of informational text to make the biographies quite comprehensive.  Of course, the bios are focused on what made the artists great, but gives extra information to give readers an impression of the people they were.  Look for a complete Bibliography and page of Source Notes on the final pages.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI