Friday, June 02, 2006


LUGALBANDA: THE BOY WHO GOT CAUGHT UP IN A WAR (AN EPIC TALE from ANCIENT IRAQ) by Kathy Henderson, illustrated by Jane Ray (Candlewick)

In the tradition of Gilgamesh, Grendel and the Greek Myths, older than the Torah, Koran or the Bible, we have an exciting illustrated retelling of the journey of Lugalbanda, the youngest son of King Enmerkar. Wanting to follow in the footsteps of his older brothers, he befalls misfortune in the Lullubu mountains and survives by earning favor from the terrifying Anzu bird. Can what Lugalbanda learns in the mountains put an end to the ill-planned war of his father? This timeless Sumerian epic is well researched by the author and thoughtfully recreated for young booklovers, an adventure and highly manageable read-aloud that will appeal to even the most reluctant listener. Jane Ray’s illustrations are luminous; she captures the dark of the deepest cave, the heat of the fire on a cold and lonely mountainside and the splendor of a city in the distance. If you were to purchase every book she has illustrated, you would have a very beautiful collection of classic stories…this is a great place to start. (7 and up)

If you like this book, you will also love:
by Janusz Korczak (Algonquin),
about a boy king who attempts to run a country of children. Whether Matt is attempting a new reform involving the distribution of chocolate to all of his citizens, running to do battle on a war-torn front under a false name while a lifelike doll reigns in his stead, arranging for his population to attend summer camp or on a diplomatic mission to the land of the cannibals, every chapter ends with a cliffhanger. And why wouldn't it? Its author was a renowned pediatrician who ran orphanages in Poland and wrote this adventure with read-aloud in mind. When the Nazis cleared the Warsaw ghetto, Korczak suffered the same tragic fate as his charges, but his masterpiece lives on. On a personal note, I consider this to be one of the best children's books ever written. I was prouder to be involved in its recent reissue than possibly any other project I have done during my lifetime, and it was an honor to write this book's introduction. A sensitive and stirring entrez into the wild world of grown-up politics, King Matt is as important a character in the canon of children's books as Peter Pan. And just get a load of that cover by Brian Selznick! All is a labor of love for our king! (9 and up)

And on another personal note...
Thank you for all of your very warm comments yesterday. Book-a-day hits the pause button on weekends so I can catch up on reading and the people I love, but please check back on Monday! I
'm plotting some special stuff for us next week.

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to
support your local bookseller.


fusenumber8 said...

This is fascinating. "King Matt the First" has a cover that's almost indentical to Selznick's design for New York State's Summer Reading poster. Check it out at Obviously his love of Mad King Ludvig has served him very well indeed.

Anonymous said...

Esme! I'm so excited about your new blog. Thank you for all you do to promote books and reading. You're a peach (and an inspiration!).

Bea said...

Hello Esme. a blog - how very Julie and Julia. Well it will be lovely to have more of your sparkle, wit and wisdom in my life on a daily basis. I will pass on the word.. looking forward also to the pirate party (I have a right eye twitch these days so could do with an eye patch.. seriously.. its wierd, mean teachers do that to me)AND MORE GREAT BOOK SUGGESTIONS! Hurrah.

Carrie Willard said...

Hi Esme,
I'm sure a lot of your readers would love it if you had syndication info on your blog. If you're interested, here are some instructions:

This will allow people who use feed readers like my Yahoo! page, Google, etc to get updated when your blog updates each day.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your blog, and I'm glad you focused on King Matt the first. (By the way, you should change "Warsaw ghettos" to "ghetto" -- there was just one Warsaw ghetto.) The links are terrific and I look forward to checking in frequently!

Anonymous said...

Yay! What a great idea! Go Esme Go!


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