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Nine weighty literary classics are transformed into delectable morsels with Scott Nash's playful versification and whimsical illustration.
Can't stomach all of Frankenstein ? Lacking the strength to read The Odyssey ? Don't have 1,001 nights to get through Scheherazade's ordeal? Never fear, Shrunken Treasures are here! Nine of the world's best-known stories and books have been reduced, like slowly simmered cherries, to tart and tasty mouthfuls. Lighthearted verse turns Moby-Dick into a simple nursery song. Outrageous color makes even gloomy Hamlet seem like fun. Riotous images transform Jane Eyre's ordeal into a whirlwind adventure. The Metamorphosis, Remembrance of Things Past, Don Quixote, and others have all been delivered from dense duty to delightful ditty in Scott Nash's collection of hallowed classics, featuring notes about the original texts at the end.
Scott Nash is the creator of the illuminated middle-grade novel The High-Skies Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate and the early reader Tuff Fluff: The Case of Duckie's Missing Brain. He is also the illustrator of Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp by Carol Diggory Shields and many other children's books. He lives on Peaks Island off the coast of Portland, Maine.
Nine literary masterpieces, from the Odyssey to Kafka's Metamorphosis, have been shoved through the author's Versizer Machine, which uses style, spice, and illustration to carefully and painlessly reduce big, thick, voluminous literary works to children's verse. It's cute, for sure, though whether kids will be in on the jokes is less certain. Adult readers will admire the deft way Nash has sidestepped violence in some works and given others pleasant, happily-ever-after endings in spite of themselves. Hamlet, for example, is a Great Dane who digs lots of holes the one he digs for Ophelia is a swimming pool. Whether these stories work for kids depends on the strength of the verse. One or two run a bit long, some are burdened with lots of scene changes and new characters, but others rip right through the meat of the work with humor and color. The Odyssey, Moby-Dick, and Remembrance of Things Past are particularly witty. Cartoonish digital art brings the characters to life and keeps the tone playful and perky.--Willey, Paula Copyright 2016 Booklist
Publisher's Weekly Review
In a quest to cast nine renowned literary works into short poems, Nash (Uh-oh, Baby!) does best with his one-line summation of Proust's Remembrance of Things Past: "I dipped a sweet cake in my tea/ And a whole world came back to me." His crisp, digitally produced artwork renders these literary heroes as round-headed, doll-like figures, their cheerful expressions belying the awful things that happen to them in their respective stories. Ahab waves from atop a smiling whale, while the beetle Gregory Samsa dances to his sister's violin music. Some of Nash's versions are downright spooky, as when Hamlet, imagined as an eager Great Dane, digs a hole for every murder the Prince commits and finishes by digging one for himself. Purists may object, but others will enjoy singing Jane Eyre to the tune of "Three Blind Mice" ("The house was spooky/ and Jane was afraid./ The attic was home/ to a crazy old maid"). Synopses of the books, only slightly less fractured than the verse interpretations ("You will also learn many details and fun facts about whaling," Nash remarks about Moby-Dick) appear in an afterword. Ages 5-8. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
Gr 3 Up-Young readers are introduced to nine classic stories the author claims to have put in a "versizer" and shrunk to lively verse and humorous illustrations. "No sissy was Ulysses:/He journeyed 'cross the sea/ And risked his life/To find his wife/The sweet Penelope" is the first of seven reduced verses retelling the ancient Greek epic the Odyssey. Interspersed are amusing depictions of Cyclops, the mermaids, and sailing scenes from Ulysses's journey. Not all stories use the same style of verse, as Jane Eyre can be sung to the tune of "Three Blind Mice," and Proust's Remembrance of Things Past (a voluminous work) has become a simple haiku. Other works include Moby-Dick, Frankenstein, Hamlet, A Thousand and One Nights, Don Quixote, and The Metamorphosis. Nash, well known for his "Flat Stanley" illustrations, employs a similar cartoon style here, including a drawing of himself next to his googly-eyed characters stacked in the "versizer" machine. Adults familiar with the original classics will be entertained by puns, such as Hamlet drawn as a great Dane (dog) who, in pawing up the garden, digs up the King's ghost. An appended section gives a bit of backstory and context for the original works and authors and tells how Nash chose to retell each tale, based on his memories. VERDICT A lighthearted and clever rendering of some classics young readers may be inclined to read later on.-Vicki Reutter, State University of New York at Cortland © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.