Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Encyclopedia Mythologica: Dragons & Monsters

Encyclopedia Mythologica: Dragons & Monsters

Spring 2011 Picture Books
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Matthew Reinhart
Author: Robert Sabuda
Illustrator: Robert Sabuda
Illustrator: Matthew Reinhart
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763631734
Hardcover Price: $29.99

Encyclopedia Mythologica: Dragons & Monsters is a masterpiece of paper engineering. The team of Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart continue to entrance pop-up fans with the scope and innovation of their work, and this is one of the finest examples to date.

The book opens with a scowling vision of Medusa, her serpentine hair flying dramatically beyond the edges of the page. Several scenes later, a majestic red dragon appears, whose body of bright red honeycomb tissue crackles as it uncoils. A giant sea monster rises from the depths of the ocean, poised to overwhelm a sailing ship that has ventured into nearby waters. Each of these powerful images is impeccably executed with great attention to detail.

It takes hundreds of individual pieces carefully engineered, illustrated with a rainbow of painted textures, and assembled by hand to create this book. Like any well-conceived sculpture, the popups are interesting when viewed from any angle. Skillful use of color renders the dragons and monsters thrilling to behold, but not too frightening.

The concise narrative descriptions that accompany each creature offer important background info for fluent readers, and ensure this book will be enjoyed again and again by child and adult alike.

Pamela Pease   ©2011 Parents' Choice
Pamela Pease is a designer, author, educator, and founder of Paintbox Press. She has created pop-up books about Macy's Parade and the Tour de France, as well as award-winning series of books on architecture and design for kids.

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