FEATHERED SERPENT AND THE FIVE SUNS

A MESOAMERICAN CREATION MYTH

The elders say that humanity currently resides in the fifth tonatiuh, or sun. Here’s the story of how humans came to be.

The preceding four tonatiuhs bore witness to failed trials. First, the gods covered sacred bones with mud, but these giant humans proved too fragile, becoming mountains in the end. The second set of humans, smaller than the first, developed into fish. Under the third tonatiuh, the enraged gods turned the rebellious humans into monkeys. The fourth tonatiuh resulted in the latest, lazy humans assuming the form of birds. At this point, the gods conceded any hope of creating humans, all except for Quetzalcóatl, the Feathered Serpent. Taking along his staff, shield, cloak, and shell ornament, Feathered Serpent travels to Mictlán, the underworld, to retrieve the sacred bones from Mictlantecuhtli, the lord of the underworld. To reach where Mictlantecuhtli dwells, Feathered Serpent journeys through nine regions, each region a test of his bravery and perseverance. Accompanied by a dog spirit guide named Xólotl, Feathered Serpent succeeds in his journey. Full of warm landscapes bathed under the sun’s light, multicolored night skies set against stars, and cavernous walls of rugged browns, Tonatiuh’s artwork—familiar in form, electric in spirit—astonishes in this retelling of a Mesoamerican creation story. Told with succinct clarity and a hint of mischief, this rendition begs for rereads. Here’s a new high-water mark for the artist. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads reviewed at 77.1% of actual size.)

Simply spellbinding. (author’s note, glossary, select bibliography) (Picture book/cosmology. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4677-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver...

THE HAUNTED HOUSE NEXT DOOR

From the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol series , Vol. 1

What happens if you move to a new town and your house is haunted? Andres is about to find out!

Andres Miedoso—his last name means “fearful” in Spanish—is “definitely not the coolest and bravest kid in the world.” In fact, Andres likes normal-boring and understands normal-boring, because he is normal-boring. But when the brown-skinned, curly haired Latino child and his family move to Kersville, he finds out his new home is anything but normal-boring. Fortunately, his next-door neighbor, a black boy named Desmond Cole who is the same age as Andres, is “the coolest, bravest kid in the world.” Desmond’s business as stated on his business card is “Ghost Patrol.” How lucky should a boy feel to live in a haunted house? Very—if you’re Desmond. Not so lucky if you’re Andres. But when the ghost eats a lasagna that makes him sick and tells them he’s been moving from house to house, Andres feels sorry and invites the ghost to stay as long as he promises “not to do any spooky stuff.” A deal is struck, a friendship is born, and a new series for chapter-book readers gets off to a good start.

Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver with their story—and to other readers too. (Suspense. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1039-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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