on 6 October 2008
What can I say? On one page I held my breath. On another, I lost it. One page left me in tears, the longing and the recognition were so poignant. When I went to look for that page again, I couldn't find it, like the gold under the rainbow. It will happen to you. At some point you'll discover the page that haunts your dreams, describes your world, or makes you smile.
Ari Berk's exquisitely informed text and Froud's always extraordinary pictures combine to open the world you know is there but have forgotten how to see. The runes, charms, and stories delineate the bargains, the sorrows, and the treasures of the journey.
Get this book. Get copies for your friends. If you've ever heard the voices under your bed and wanted to know their names, or wept at a sunset for no reason, or considered walking through the door at the back of the wardrobe, just in case--get this book. They're playing your song.
Let's face it, the majority of stories we tell each other these days is nothing but gossip. Gone are the days of fables and poems and limericks. Stories like this are considered bedtime rituals for kids rather than something important that we can learn from.
Brian Froud and Ari Berk team up in this book to deliver 24 stories (some short, some long) based on ancient culture, each one with a twist in the tale and the meaning of of it laid out afterwards. A runic code is also featured for every one, that takes a few minutes to unravel. But once you get familiar with the Key, it'll be easier for you.
Some of these stories are easy to identify with, but some are really out there. Since Berk has a degree in Modern, Classic and Medieval English Literature you can expect him to have pretty diverse writing skills. All of the stories may be set in the same world but you'll never know where he'll go in the next one.
Froud's paintings are definitely interesting and vivid, but I'd be hard-pushed to call them beautiful. Some are so abstract and weird that I could look at it for ages and still not fully understand it's point.
It took quite a while to get through this book. A lot of patience is needed to decipher the codes and I'm not the kind of guy who can read several different fables in one night. It does make for a good bedtime read for kids and adults though. But I wouldn't expect many children to appreciate the book at all.
on 8 April 2010
This book came to me by mistake - I'd ordered something else, and this arrived......... the first time in many years of ordering from Amazon that I received the wrong book. However, when I looked inside the book, I loved the wonderful illustrations & text. I decided not to send it back, but to reorder the original book I wanted instead!
What a happy mistake! I wouldn't part with this wonderful book, and have since bought other works of Brian Fround. They are like a window into a kind of forgotten world. If you need something beautiful to look at and love fantasy worlds, this is for you.
This is a gorgeous book - beautiful illustrations, gorgeously laid out, and extremely lyrical writing by Ari Berk. I'd been waiting for this book for a while and was definately not disappointed when i finally got my hands on a copy.
If you're going to spend your money on anything, spend it on this - its well worth the buy!