cover image Power and Glory

Power and Glory

Emily Rodda. Greenwillow Books, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-14214-8

A video game overlaps with family dynamics in this rousing but possibly overstimulating picture book from an Australian author and artist. When the narrator receives the game ""Power and Glory"" as a birthday present, he begins trying to defeat its lineup of enemies. Yet each time he meets a new villain, a family member cuts in-for ""I fight the witch... I fight the witch,"" for example, his mother, broomstick in hand, orders him off to breakfast (""Game over""). A vulture heralds his sister, dressed in a sweater that echoes the bird's plumage; and so forth. Replaying the game from the beginning after each interruption, Rodda builds up a throbbing rhythm that approximates the intensity of the play. Linocut-style pictograms of game icons appear amid the text, and the typeface changes size and color for emphasis on approaching danger. Full-page futuristic-style paintings, composed of pointillistic fields of hot orange, yellow and green, alternate between family scenes and battles within the video dimension. The subject will be dear to many in the target audience, but some parents might object to the way the violent gaming action (""I jump him, thump him, thrash him, trash him... and I win! YES!!!"") spills into the story and pumps up the reader. Ages 5-up. (Apr.)