cover image I Am Pan!

I Am Pan!

Mordicai Gerstein. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (80p) ISBN 978-1-62672-035-0

In roughly a dozen stories told through comics-style sequences, Gerstein (The Night World) delivers a wonderfully mischievous and joyful account of the life of the Greek god Pan, as narrated by the cloven-hooved deity himself. Gerstein draws from Ovid, Graves, and other familiar sources as he describes Pan's romantic misadventures, his music contest with Apollo, and his role in the battle of Marathon, among other myths, while also adding playful, modern touches throughout (when Zeus battles Typhon, the monster stuns the god with a screech that sounds like "one thousand fingernails on a blackboard"). Gerstein's jittery illustrations are perfectly suited to Pan's scruffy, goaty body and inexhaustible energy, and the lurid, zigzagging lettering he uses for Pan's panic-inducing screams is especially effective. Laughs come fast and frequently, whether it's Pan haplessly trying to court various nymphs ("But I glub you! Glub glub glub," he shouts as a waterfall nymph sends him tumbling) or the gods retiring to "Greece%E2%80%94or is it Canada" as the book comes to a close. It's every bit the wild and woolly "autobiography" that a chaotic spirit like Pan deserves. Ages 5%E2%80%939. (Mar.)