cover image The Story of the Three Kingdoms

The Story of the Three Kingdoms

Walter Dean Myers. HarperCollins, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-024286-2

Myers (Brown Angels) and Bryan (Sing to the Sun) make a dynamite team. Here, the hot colors, sweeping lines and stylized figures that characterize Bryan's art form a bold backdrop for the author's equally dramatic original fable. Long ago, Myers writes, the world was divided into three kingdoms: earth, ruled by Elephant; sea, ruled by Shark; and air, ruled by Hawk. The three quarrel mightily as to who is greatest, and they laugh at the People, who, they say, exist only to do their bidding. With time, the People outwit the haughty trio by learning from the stories they tell around the fire at night. The tale of a child catching a butterfly at rest, for instance, sparks a plan to capture Hawk in the baobab tree. In the end, the People realize they have the greatest power of all: ""the gift of story and the wisdom it brings."" Using repetition and a stately cadence, Myers invests his prose with a timeless air; together, he and Bryan provide for a memorable read-aloud experience. Ages 6-9. (May)