Imagine it! One short story by a renowned author, Linda Sue Park, followed with spin-offs from nine other writers.
"Click!" It's like 10 exposures of the same thing. But "click" means more than that. The nucleus story is of Maggie and Gee, her photographer grandfather. When Gee died, he left Maggie some photos and a box of shells with a note advising her to return them to the sea.
Each of the nine authors took an element from Park's story and, according to Arthur A. Levine, the book's editor, "What developed was an incredible rich cast of characters taking part in a drama that is by turns dramatic, funny and fantastical."
Deborah Ellis chose to focus on the origin of the hand-carved box (made by a Russian prison inmate), while Eoin Colfer developed the portrayal of an older brother and his relationship to grandfather Gee. Roddy Doyle was fascinated with Gee's surname, Keane, and made the Irish connection. Margo Lanagan's remembrance of collecting sea shells was her link to the story of a grandfather and granddaughter, which she used to push Maggie into a new venture further into the future.
The connection of 10 authors adapting one story is unique. While they read each other's work at completion, they never ventured into a true collaboration to smooth out the edges of each story to fit into the next. What results is a glimpse or quick flash of Maggie and Grandfather Gee along with other interesting characters. It's a pleasing story with a variety of voices and tones. It's probably more about what life really is: a series of clicks as one moves forward with optimism and change.
Also unique is the book's intent: a benefit for Amnesty International, whose focus is to "undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending abuses ... freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination." The novel sets in motion funds for that organization.The authors and their award-winning works are: David Almond, winner of the Printz Award for "Kit's Wilderness"; Eoin Colfer, author of the "Artemis Fowl" series; Roddy Doyle, whose "Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha" won the Booker prize; Deborah Ellis, who received a Jane Addams Book Award for the "Breadwinner" trilogy; Nick Hornby, whose three books have been made into featured films; Margo Lanagan, who won a Printz Honor for "Black Juice"; Gregory Maguire, author of "Wicked," a recent Broadway musical; Ruth Ozeki, whose novel "My Year of Meats" has been translated into 11 languages; Linda Sue Park, who is the winner of the Newbery Award for "A Single Shard"; and Tim Wynne-Jones, two-time winner of the Governor General's Award for Fiction.
MYTHOLOGY, by Lady Hestia Evans, Dugald A. Steer and various, Candlewick Press, $19.95.
This is a novelty primerlike introduction to the gods and goddesses of old Greece. It's a great companion to Homer's "Iliad" and "Odysseus," which my 15-year-old granddaughter and I read together as her class project.
"Mythology" is the fifth of the popular "ology" books ("Dragonology," "Egyptology," "Wizardology" and "Pirateology") with pop-ups, fold-outs and puzzles tucked into secret envelopes. Highly illustrated and with succinct facts for quick reading, these books are just right for browsing and collecting ideas for extended activities.
The premise of "Mythology" is that an English nobleman pursued his dream of finding the sites of ancient Greece. His guide was a primer published by a friend, Lady Hestia Evans, who had followed the works of Lord Byron, who himself had sought the lost Grecian sites and treasures.
Along the way, the nobleman added his own comments and commentary. Marginal notes and maps embellish the Evans book. The inserts include sketches, charts, paper crafts, fold-outs, a pop-up Pandora's box and a gold obolos coin to use in Rome. A bit of golden fleece is included (from "Odysseus") and a feather pen and note pad for further details.
Toward the end of his journey, the man hears the story of Midas and gradually the pages (and supposedly he himself) begin to turn to gold.The publisher has included scores of extra features such as "precious stones" embedded in the padded cover, sepia-toned art on heavy pages, the Greek alphabet, sturdy game cards and an adequate binding to ensure that many readings will be enjoyed by readers 8 years and up.