Gorky Rises - William Steig

Whatever had kept him fastened to the earth let go its hold, and Gorky's slumbering body rose in the air, like a bubble rising in water, and moved off in an easterly direction.

William Steig wrote and illustrated some very bizarre children's books (among them, Shrek!, which is quite unlike the movie based on it). Gorky Rises certainly qualifies. It's about a young frog named Gorky who mixes up a magic potion, and then floats up into the sky and spends a day flying around. What really makes this book wonderful is the language: although it's a children's picture book, the text is not at all dumbed down. It's as if Steig didn't know (or care) that kids who could handle this vocabulary have typically moved beyond picture books. He uses words like "decanted" and "aeronauts" and has a colorful way of describing things.

The pictures of the anthropomorphic animals are simple but captivating. The expressions on the animals' faces are particularly well-done.

It's a silly, funny book which I think will delight readers of a wide range of ages, as long as you don't mind the inexplicable weirdness of it all.

Fed to jonathan's brain | March 04, 2008 | Comments (0)


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