The Call of Cthulhu, a Graphic Novel by Dave Shephard

Quarto Publishing, 2018.The Call of Cthulhu

In The Call of Cthulhu, Dave Shephard sets a classic horror tale originally written by H.P. Lovecraft into a more linear form than the original story. This works well for readers, using a narrator to help us understand how events at diverse locations around the world are related. The illustrations evoke the darkness of the tale and the horror of the idea of a huge malignant power sleeping beneath the seas. Cult members serve it, and when awakened, Cthulhu will call more aliens from the stars to wreak havoc on humans on Earth.

I think this is a masterful rendition of the story that may well create new H.P. Lovecraft fans. It’s a wonderful addition to the Dark Tales graphic novels series and a great place for readers who love horror to begin their summer reading. The illustrations are detailed and intriguing and the story will spark the imaginations of its readers.

Other books in the Dark Tales Graphic Novel Series from Canterbury Classics include The Call of Cthulhu, The Snow Queen, and Beauty and the Beast.

I received a copy of The Call of Cthulhu from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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The Hound of the Baskervilles, a Graphic Novel by Dave Shephard

Dark Tales: The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Graphic NovelQuarto Publishing, 2018.

As a lover of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, I could not pass up a chance to read this new version of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Part of Dave Shephard’s Dark Tales series of graphic novels, The Hound of the Baskervilles was the perfect story to pick as the setting of the miry moor and the tales of a ghost dog make this one of the creepiest of the Sherlock Holmes tales.

Shephard’s pictures evoke the desolate landscape, the old manor, and the complex plot well. Readers who are familiar with the screen and television versions of Doyle’s stories will note with pleasure the visual references to familiar actors and settings.

Other books in the Dark Tales Graphic Novel Series from Canterbury Classics include The Call of Cthulhu, The Snow Queen, and Beauty and the Beast.

I received copies of The Hound of the Baskervilles from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Two Spells by Mark Morrison

51fuRmKahML Twins Sarah and John are off to Wales for the summer to stay with the grandparents they’ve barely met. Almost immediately, even before the family has reached their destination, it’s clear that the area of their mother’s birth isn’t ordinary. A werewolf in the road, a fortress named Two Spells atop a mountain, and a mysteriously dysfunctional GPS that keeps returning them to Two Spells rather than guiding them to their grandparents are merely the beginning of their adventure.

Soon the twins are completely immersed in the world of the magical library—intrigued by the library and the magic within it. Soon enough it is clear that there are forces at work that would destroy the library, and they’re right in the middle of a battle for survival: the library’s and their own.

Mark Morrison’s first book shows that he has a great love of fantasy and magical worlds and a fantastic imagination.

Although I, too, am a fantasy lover, I often found myself disoriented in the complexities of the plot of Two Spells, although your mileage may vary. I also wished that Sarah had a little more agency and a little less help from adults and magical creatures in the resolution.

Though the author puts this book at a young adult level, I’d put it at a middle grade level, as Sarah and Jon seem young for a true young adult book.

The author sent me a copy of the book in hopes of receiving a review.

 

Hidden City Poems of Urban Wildlife

Hidden City

Written by Sarah Grace Tuttle

Illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2018.

I grew up in the woods with the summer sounds of wood thrushes and katydids lulling me to sleep each night. In spring, we searched the woods for Indian pipes, Dutchman’s breeches, and lady slippers. The squirrels and songbirds joined us at meals at our picnic table among the trees. Despite all this, I was thrilled to move right into Boston when I was a teenager, and I’ve never wanted to be too far from that city since. But in the years I raised my young children, I despaired of giving them the kind of connection to nature that was so easy to nurture in the woods. I wish I had had a copy of Hidden City when they were small.

Sarah Tuttle’s poems evoke the rhythms, sounds, and behaviors of the wildlife tucked in and around a city landscape. Tuttle’s love and knowledge of wildlife and ecology sings through with information artfully included in each poem to help children and their parents know where to look for wildlife and learn more about each species. The poems focus on the everyday sightings of pigeons, sparrows, and dandelions and the more unusual: raccoons at night, snakes in the vacant lot, red-winged blackbirds in the marsh by the railroad track. These rich poems will spark interest—and questions. A rich double-page spread of end notes provides both more information and a list of resources for families wanting to learn more.

Tuttle’s beautiful poems are beautifully paired with artist Amy Schimler-Safford’s colorful artwork. The pictures are not only inviting, but also fun and informative. Many of the pictures have wildlife hidden here and there for eager readers to find. Who wouldn’t want to dive into these appealing pictures to find the dragonfly among the cattails, count the snails at night, or imagine the mouse’s warm paper nest?

To be fair, I must disclose that Sarah Tuttle is a critique partner of mine, so I have known and loved these poems for some time. I will be buying this book for my home library and sharing it with families I know. Even if you don’t know her, if you are raising or teaching children in a city environment, you will want a copy of this book to read and study and to encourage your family to go out and discover the wildlife in your neighborhood.

I received an advance reader copy of Hidden City courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.