March 23, 2010

Gods & Heroes in the Washington Post

This review appeared on Sunday, March 21, 2010 in The Washington Post:

By Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart
Candlewick. $29.99, ages 5 and up

From initial startle to final analysis ("How did they do that?"), a well-made pop-up book is all about surprise; it's a further astonishment when the text is worth reading. Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart have dedicated "Gods and Heroes" to "all the educators who have supported our work over the years," and they have crafted concise and lively versions of many of the world's ancient myths and legends. But the ingenious paper structures that emerge from every spread and collapse back again are the big draw. First up -- literally -- is the Egyptian god Horus, whose falcon head extends over the top of the book and whose long human-like legs extend below. On the same spread, smaller and tucked away in corners, are no fewer than four other 3-D scenes, and this is a typical page in this exuberant book. In addition to the Egyptian pantheon, Sabuda and Reinhart pay tribute to such luminaries as the Greek gods, goddesses and heroes, Gilgamesh, the Norse "masters of battle" (including Odin with his flaming red beard and bright purple garment), the Polynesian volcano goddess Pele, China's Heavenly Grandfather, and the Aztec Empire's plumed serpent Quetzalcoatl. They all loomed large for centuries, and now they pop up in a big way.

-Abby McGanney Nolan

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