Tales of Wisdom & Wonder
A professional storyteller, Lupton imbues each folktale in this unusual
collection with the rhythm and wit of an informal orator, and delivers a
nugget of truth at the close. Reflecting an impressive amount of
research, he culls legends from Ireland, Russia, France, Africa and the
Caribbean islands and embellishes them as a jazz musician embellishes
melody (the analogy is Lupton's, and it is apt). He weaves in riffs
tailored for reading aloud and prompting interaction with the listener:
"Now, the farmer's wife could not keep a secret! Can you keep a secret?
The farmer's wife, she could not keep a secret." Also marking an
auspicious debut, artist Sharkey emphasizes the mysterious yet home-spun
quality of the tales. She uses a different color scheme for each, but
unifies the volume with recurring oblong box-shaped borders that run
across the bottom of the pages (each tale has its own visual motif). The
geometric shapes and wide eyes of Sharkey's characters may remind some
readers of a cross between Lane Smith and Yumi Heo, but the composition
of her work reflects her own unique style. For instance, she creates a
witty counterpoint when picturing a bulbous dog in "The Peddler of
Swaffham" burying his bone as his master unearths a buried treasure.
Readers can only hope that this team of newcomers has more in store.