cover image Tarzan


Robert D. San Souci. Hyperion Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0384-2

Just in time for the release of Disney's animated feature Tarzan comes this sturdy picture-book introduction to the famous character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. San Souci (The Faithful Friend) skillfully condenses a complex work of fiction into its key components. He skims over the drama preceding Tarzan's birth to Lord and Lady Greystoke, victims of a shipboard mutiny, and quickly plunges readers into the eventful circumstances of Tarzan's adoption by a young female ape. This treatment emphasizes Tarzan's success in teaching himself to read, and his use of intelligence along with physical strength, a combination that results in his becoming king of the apes. San Souci's expert pacing and sense for the essential story line give his adaptation an air of completeness. An endnote addresses literary and philosophical underpinnings of the story as well as the author's use of the source material; it may well inspire kids to one day seek out Burroughs's works. In his trademark style, McCurdy's (Iron Horses, reviewed above) crisp, full-color scratchboard compositions feature lush foliage and menacing wild animals--they bring the African jungle to life. Ages 5-9. (June)