The Peaceable Kingdom: Story by Ewa Zadrzynska; Illustrations by Tomek Olbinski; Painting from the Brooklyn Museum

Ewa Zadrzynska, Author, Olbinski Tomek, Illustrator
Ewa Zadrzynska, Author, Olbinski Tomek, Illustrator M.M. Art Books $14.95 (28p) ISBN 978-0-9638904-0-5
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Brooklyn's Botanic Garden is astir when Brian and his sister Susan discover a strangely gentle trio of lion, leopard and wolf. A crew of incompetent grown-ups--pompous professors, zombie-like journalists, a sincere but obtuse mayor--finally allows the kids to use their knowledge of art to solve the riddle. The animals, it emerges, have stepped out of a canvas in the Brooklyn Museum, hoping to find the outside world approaching the messianic calm of Edward Hicks's Peaceable Kingdom. Loosely based on Hicks's primitive style, Olbinski's striking illustrations are mysterious and sometimes ominous, and don't entirely suit Zadrzynska's ( The Girl with a Watering Can ) urbane, satiric text. The Hicks painting itself becomes an afterthought, a vehicle for the author's lament, implied in an afterword, that Isaiah's prophecy is so far from being realized. Although it may get some children to the museum--locations of the various versions of Hicks's painting are given--this book is ultimately unsatisfying in its reduction of art to a philosophical device. Ages 5-12. (June)
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