cover image Wings


Jane Yolen. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-297850-1

Yolen is in top form here in this polished, ardent retelling of the tragic Greek legend of Daedalus and his son Icarus. Banished from his beloved Athens for killing his nephew, the proud craftsman and inventor Daedalus finally lands on the island of Crete, where he designs the famed labyrinth in which the Minotaur is imprisoned. King Minos is enraged when Daedalus aids in killing the cruel beast and has him confined in a tower. Daedalus escapes with his son on wings made of bird feathers and wax, but the hapless boy plunges to his death. Yolen's elegant prose (``wingtip to wingtip they flew, writing the lines of their escape on the air'') is matched by Nolan's sophisticated watercolors that, like the legend itself, provocatively blend reality and fantasy: as the story of Daedalus unfolds in the foreground, cloudlike gods look on from above. Beautifully printed on heavy, cream-colored stock, the book is as much a tactile treat as a visual and literary one. All ages. (Oct.)