Puss in Boots

While there are many versions of Puss in Boots, none is quite so sumptuously illustrated as the one by ballet master Lincoln Kirstein and Alain Vaes. School Library Journal: “This retelling of Perrault’s classic reveals a talent for dramatic, well-paced storytelling and some of the flair that has made Kirstein’s name a legend in the world of ballet. His slight changes — a magic feather, a compression of incident, alliterative read-aloud prose — enhance the tale, but the text’s real strength is that it’s a perfect match for the drop-dead illustrations . . . Vaes evokes a world of high baroque splendor and rococo exuberance. Balletically posed figures and vivid faces compete for readers’ attention with stunningly defined settings, every detail picked out by light of theatrical intensity. Art-history in-jokes abound: identifiable gems of 17th-century architecture (Vaux-le-Vicomte, the Chateau de Chaument) are peopled by figures from El Greco, Valasquez, Watteau et al, while the king wears W. C. Fields’s face. Museum-piece props and sumptuous costumes set off deliberately exaggerated proportions and unexpected perspectives. Puss himself is a triumph: utterly feline, regally poised. Original, witty, gorgeous, allusive, this is a book to pore over and purr over.” Giggle factor: not applicable. Adult enjoyment: if you like art. Illustrations: at least five jelly jars if not the whole stock.

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~ by kaychubbuck on April 25, 2011.

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