The Three Pigs ) created a visual version of Lieber's novelette about a craps game with Death: the "bones&#"/>

GONNA ROLL THE BONES

Fritz Leiber, Author, Sarah L. Thomson, Author, David Wiesner, Illustrator , illus. by David Wiesner, adapted by Sarah L. Thomson. ibooks/ Milk & Cookies $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-689-03591-3

As an art student, Caldecott medalist Wiesner (The Three Pigs ) created a visual version of Lieber's novelette about a craps game with Death: the "bones" here double as dice and the opponent's skeletal body. In this moody exercise in sepia pencil on yellowed vellum, the artist supplements his fledgling effort with some new sketches. "Guess I'll roll the bones tonight," Joe Slattermill tells his mother and his wife. He moseys down to The Boneyard, a gambling den in a shadowy street that might be in a tenement neighborhood or the Wild West. At the craps table sit a fat casino boss named Mr. Bones and a mysterious Big Gambler with a "smooth white forehead" and eyes "like black holes." As Joe expertly shoots the dice and purposefully trips up to give the Big Gambler a turn, he finds himself in a duel for his soul. Smoky, decadent cabaret scenes alternate with ominous imagery of his grim rival, and the tale ends ambiguously when Joe loses his match (Death cheats) and takes "the long way [home]... around the world." Wiesner's horizontal landscape format and cinematic storyboard sequences—with gestures and movement evolving over several frames or even within a single sketch—prefigure his work in books such as Tuesday . The autumnal sketch-like illustrations, in contrast to the foreboding cover image in frosty green and gray-blue, demonstrate the evolution of his artwork. His tastes have evolved too, along with a sense of his young readership; collectors are the likeliest audience for this eerie tale. Ages 6-up. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 10/11/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
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