Category Archives: Children’s European Historical Fiction

ANTHONY AND THE GARGOYLE – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Anthony And the Gargoyle Written by Jo Ellen Bogart Illustrated by Maja Kastelic
Anthony And the Gargoyle Written by Jo Ellen Bogart Illustrated by Maja Kastelic

INCLUDING 5 MORE FREE TO READ KINDLE UNLIMITED BOOKS

TitleAnthony and the Gargoyle
AuthorJo Ellen Bogart
IllustratorMaja Kastelic
PublisherGroundwood Books (October 5, 2021)
Pages48
GenreChildren’s European Books, Children’s
Friendship Books, Children’s Fantasy &
Magic Books
LanguageEnglish
ISBN /ASIN #978-1773063447 / B0937KDQJH

#Children’s European Books #Children’s Friendship Books #Children’s Fantasy & Magic Books

AUTHOR

Jo Ellen Bogart studied education and psychology at the University of Texas, Austin.

SYNOPSIS

Anthony and the Gargoyle by Jo Ellen Bogart and illustrated by Maja Kastelic, is a revelation. The story begins with the enigmatic image of a small house with a tiny garden in a semi-rural setting; and just like that the scene is set for Anthony’s adventure. The story revolves around the friendship between a young boy, Anthony, and a recently hatched Gargoyle. 

We quickly learn that Anthony is part of a traditional French family unit consisting of his Mother (Mère), Father (Père) and Anthony (Antoine). His home environment is comfortable without being extravagant. Going to bed one night his favorite rock metamorphosis’s into something rare. On waking he discovers a surprise that leads him into a close relationship with his new-found friend. Recognizing that his new pal is different from him, Anthony questions his mother in order to better understand his bon ami. An unexpected phone call requires his mother to go to Paris. She takes Anthony and the Gargoyle with her. What follows is a journey of discovery for both Anthony and his Gargoyle. Anthony experiences love, loss and mortality. The Journey is tinged with both happiness and sadness; with new beginnings and endings.

CONCLUSION

Bogart’s work relies heavily on the graphics of Kastelic and together they have managed to infuse what could have been an average children’s book into a sparkling gem. Anthony and the Gargoyle exudes warmth and magic previously only seen in works of great authors such as Lewis Carroll. Whilst the styles are diametrically opposed, they both share the ability to tell a captivating story and include illustrations as a central part of the process.

The illustrational nature of the book is compelling from the outset. The plates are so finely sculpted that they capture the natural inclination of the child to continue exploring until the end. In this kind of word-free novel the synergy between the writer and the illustrator are crucial and Bogart and Kastelic together have created a rare synergy here. Nothing less than a literal feast for the child’s eye and mind. The pictorialization is exquisite throughout and the force of Bogarts illustrated narrative are enhanced through the symbiosis of their collaboration. The quality of their mutual creativity and the visualization of their work stands alone and speaks for itself. 

The story seems to be inspired by an allegoric theme, that is to say in the style of a morality play. The absence of text frees the child from the encumbrances of reading whilst enhancing the child’s ability to stretch their comprehension and their imagination simultaneously. Additionally the concepts of love, responsibility, and mortality are all covered providing a realistic view on life and its challenges. 

The work may be especially valuable to challenged children and their guardians. Children who find communication difficult could benefit greatly from the lack the print in this wordless novel. 

Bogart’s story is recommended for ages 6-9 years but it could easily be enjoyed by younger or older children. It would not be hard to imagine that Anthony and the Gargoyle could easily become a favorite of any child. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Jo Ellen Bogart, NetGalley, and Groundwood Books (October 5, 2021) for affording me the opportunity to review Anthony and the Gargoyle.

5 CHILDREN’S FREE TO READ

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Prince of Ponies – Review

Litercurious Book Review

TitlePrince of Ponies
AuthorStacy Gregg
PublisherHarperCollins Children’s Books (October 3, 2019)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, CD
#Pages/KB304 / 2239KB
GenreChildren’s European Historical Fiction, Children’s Horse Books, Children’s Historical Action & Adventure
LanguageEnglish
ASIN#B07PKJRQLF

AUTHOR

Stacy Gregg lives in New Zealand. Learn more about this accomplished author here. You can visit her Facebook page here. You can see a list of books she authored here.

SYNOPSIS

A WWII refugee meets a Syrian refugee and a love of horses binds them together.

Zofia was a young girl in Poland when the Germans invaded. After losing everything and everyone she loved, she was taken in by a kind German officer. Luckily for Zofia, this Officer was in charge of one of the most prestigious horse stables in Poland. He taught Zofia everything he knew about horses.

Mira is a young girl that fled war torn Syria with her mother and made her way to Berlin, Germany. One day while she was walking a dachshund named Rolf, he got loose and ran into the woods. Mira followed Rolf and soon found him in a battle with a beautiful Arabian horse. Mira got Rolf under control and the horse ran off. She followed the horse to a small stable deep in the woods. This is where Mira met Zofia.

Zofia, now aged, takes Mira and Rolf into her home and strikes a bargain with the young girl; write my story down, and I will teach you about horses. Mira goes back everyday and writes down Zofia’s incredible history, in return she is trained to be a horsewoman!

CONCLUSION

Prince of Ponies is an incredible book. Loosely based on true events that happened during WWII about the German horse breeding program. Stacy Gregg has written a remarkable book that binds history with current trends. The combination of a WWII refugee and a Syrian refugee was inspirational.

Stacy’s knowledge of horses and Dressage is evident. Her descriptions of complicated horse gates, leads, exercises, anatomy are all spot on. She draws a picture in the readers mind that is exact in detail and context.

Prince of Ponies plot is believable and inspiring. It is the classic struggle to be more than you are and working hard to achieve your goals. The story is about friendship, trust, love, and never giving up. It is about taking your destiny into your own hands and not letting others hold you back.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who loves horses, or just a warm touching story.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

SELECTION OF WORKS FROM THIS AUTHOR

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank, Stacy Gregg, NetGalley, and HarperCollins Children’s Books for affording me the opportunity to review Prince of Ponies.