This Is Not a Book by Jean Jullien (InfoSoup)
Open this “book” and you will find that it is not a story and doesn’t act like a book at all. Some pages open up to be held at an angle and become computers, couches and refrigerators. Others flap like monster mouths chomping, butterfly wings flapping, and hands clapping. Still others turn upside down like the tent. It’s a book that is meant to be interacted with, seen in new ways and that becomes something new with each turn of the page.
Done in sturdy board book pages, this book will withstand being turned around, passed to other children and interacted with by small hands. Libraries will appreciate the lack of tabs and moving parts, the magic of the book is brought to life solely by the illustrations in this wordless masterpiece.
One of the most inventive and simple board books around, this one is a keeper! Appropriate for ages 1-3.
Reviewed from library copy.
I Am Pan! by Mordicai Gerstein (InfoSoup)
From the minute he is born, Pan is filled with mischief. Born with his goat horns and hoofed feet, he is immediately silly and even gets the grumpy Zeus to smile. As Pan grows, he becomes bored with life on Olympus and gets into so much trouble that the Gods ask him to return to Arcadia where he was born. While there, he invents panic, falls in love with the moon, and helps battle the monster Typhon. He also falls in love and marries Echo and discovers his love of music and the pan pipes. Story after story shows the power of merriment, music and mischievousness.
Gerstein embraces the spirit of Pan on the page by telling the tales with a zany spirit and a wild feel. There is not attempt to contain Pan here, just a feeling of being along on a very rambunctious ride. This suits the subject beautifully, giving space to the large personality of Pan. The graphic novel format also works very nicely with retelling Greek myths, keeping them brief and showing rather than telling a lot of the action.
The illustrations of this picture book/graphic novel are done in loud colors with lots of action and movement. Pan almost flies off the page in some sections, particularly when creating panic personally. The illustrations match the subject, offering a loud and cheery look at this wild God.
I am hoping this is not the only Greek God book that Gerstein does, since this book works so well and offers a very approachable and funny look at Pan. Appropriate for ages 6-9.
Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.