The Riddlemaster

The Riddlemaster
Price:
Age Group: 4-7
Author:
Series: Picture Books
Illustrator: Stephane Jorisch
Tags: Bestseller, New Release, Recommended Books
Length: 32
Publisher: Tradewind Books
ISBN: 9781926890111

Description

Anouk, Ben and Cara dream of a fabulous treasure buried on the golden island across the  harbour. A mysterious and grizzled old man offers  them passage on his boat, but only if they can solve seven vexing riddles. If they succeed, a strange and magical prize awaits them.

Enchanting illustrations by Stéphane Jorish illuminate this story by one of Britain’s best- loved children’s authors

Kevin Crossley-Holland is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a winner of
the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award for The Seeing Stone. He lives on the Norfolk
coast in East Anglia, England.

Stéphane Jorisch one of Canada’s most celebrated illustrators. He is a two-time winner of the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Illustration (for Jabberwocky and The Owl and The Pussycat). He grew up in Montreal, where he now lives with his family.

Awards

Reviews

I first saw and read today’s Perfect Picture Book at my local library over a month ago. I confess to finding it puzzling at first (pardon the pun!), but found myself returning to it again and again. I decided to feature it today, Inauguration Day in the US, as changes in administration are often puzzling. Without further ado (or political commentary), I present today’s Perfect Picture Book:

patricianozell.com

 

“Do you remember Crossley-Holland’s Arthur trilogy from a decade or two back?  It was quite the big deal when I started working as a children’s librarian, though it’s faded from the public consciousness quite a bit since then.  I was thrilled to find some smart editor had paired the author with the urbane and delightful Stephane Jorisch.  There’s an undercurrent of fear to The Riddlemaster, but I loved the old-fashioned riddling of it all.  It’s also a beauty to look at.”

Betsy Bird of the SLJ

In this Canadian import, three children gaze longingly across the water at a golden island when they’re interrupted by a strange old man who calls himself the Riddlemaster. He says that a boat filled with islanders—beasts from dogs to dragons—will take them across the water, allowing them to disembark only if they answer seven riddles. Clever Anouk and wisecracking Ben solve six, but the last is up to quiet Cara. This fable has a startlingly ominous undertone. The Riddlemaster himself—tall, thin, and hooded—is more than a little foreboding, and when Anouk wants to know what will happen if they can’t answer the riddles, her question is never directly answered, though the animals “sing a terrible, hungry song.” The riddles themselves are simple (“Pity those who have them. Pity those who don’t.” The answer: children), and the illustrations of animals—many of whom mimic other famous creatures, such as Wild Things and the musicians of Bremen—complement this strange tale of adventure, cleverness, and storytelling

Maggie Reagan – 09/26/2016

 

PreS-Gr 2—A British scholar of myth and folklore and the award-winning author of The Seeing Stone presents the very young with an adventure with all the marks of the classic hero’s journey. Two girls and a boy long to reach an island and its potential treasure, but to do so they must risk a voyage on the islanders’ boat. The mysterious Riddlemaster is their guide but not their protector; the islanders—all animals that could easily have come out of their own picture books—are both friendly and less so. To succeed, the children must overcome obstacles in the form of seven increasingly difficult riddles, and the menacing islanders along with scary sea serpents hint at the children’s fate if they fail. Jorisch has given this tale a timeless setting, and his playful, elegant illustrations offset what could be a frightening journey for some little ones. Although clues to the island’s treasure are incorporated throughout the text and illustrations, the ending will surprise. VERDICT Never didactic, this lively work stresses the importance of story and the written word and might easily be an allegory for the heroic journey all children make in learning to read.—Susan Stan, Professor Emerita of English, Central Michigan University

School Library Journal – 09/01/2016

 

Three children board a ferry to a nearby island—but to pay the fare must answer seven riddles posed by a boatload of strangely familiar creatures.The first is easy enough—”What do you have to keep when you give it?”—but they get harder. As Anouk, Ben, and Cara fumble toward solutions, the trio of Bears, the Wolf, the Beast, and the other toothy passengers begin to press forward hungrily. “What’s the treasure you can keep and share?” is the seventh riddle, posed by the cowled, skeletally thin Riddlemaster who had led the children aboard. When they correctly answer—”Is it a story?”—they triumphantly debark onto an island of…books, where they are greeted by a host of friends from world literature. Veteran storysmith Crossley-Holland gives the boat a tree of words for a mast and weaves story-related figures and symbols (plus occasional hints for the riddles) into his spare narrative. Jorisch casts the children as ambiguous in age, idiosyncratically Western of dress, and, respectively, Inuit or East Asian, dark-skinned, and light-skinned. He also captures the tale’s atmospherically mysterious tone by filling his scenes with such playful or quirky details as a woman peaceably eating her lunch on a bench of whale (or sea monster) vertebrae, a Beast that could easily double as a Wild Thing, surreal creatures with human faces, and finally an island landscape strewn with letters and enticingly half-open volumes. A jewel box for lovers of stories, filled with riddles and allusions that will test, but not daunt, even younger readers. (Picture book. 7-9)

Kirkus Reviews – 2016-05-18

 

“Suffice to say answering riddles is one of the best ways to prepare young minds for becoming more creative and being receptive to new stories . . . The illustrations are in turn delightful and dark, with joy and horror juxtaposed, and many hidden secrets to tease out.”

The School Librarian 

 

PreS-Gr 2—A British scholar of myth and folklore and the award-winning author of The Seeing Stone presents the very young with an adventure with all the marks of the classic hero’s journey.  Jorisch has given this tale a timeless setting, and his playful, elegant illustrations offset what could be a frightening journey for some little ones. This lively work stresses the importance of story and the written word and might easily be an allegory for the heroic journey all children make in learning to read.—Susan Stan, Professor Emerita of English, Central Michigan University

School Library Journal – 09/01/2016

 

Veteran storysmith Crossley-Holland gives the boat a tree of words for a mast and weaves story-related figures and symbols (plus occasional hints for the riddles) into his spare narrative. Jorisch  captures the tale’s atmospherically mysterious tone. A jewel box for lovers of stories, filled with riddles and allusions that will test, but not daunt, even younger readers. (Picture book. 7-9)

Kirkus Reviews – 2016-05-18

 

Did You Ever Stop to Think and Forget to Start Again?  July 11th, 2016 Review

LH Johnson Review

 

Bookish  – This week’s Hottest Releases July 31- August 6th, 2016

Bookish.com

 

In this Canadian import, three children gaze longingly across the water at a golden island when they’re interrupted by a strange old man who calls himself the Riddlemaster. He says that a boat filled with islanders—beasts from dogs to dragons—will take them across the water, allowing them to disembark only if they answer seven riddles. Clever Anouk and wisecracking Ben solve six, but the last is up to quiet Cara. This fable has a startlingly ominous undertone. The Riddlemaster himself—tall, thin, and hooded—is more than a little foreboding, and when Anouk wants to know what will happen if they can’t answer the riddles, her question is never directly answered, though the animals “sing a terrible, hungry song.” The riddles themselves are simple (“Pity those who have them. Pity those who don’t.” The answer: children), and the illustrations of animals—many of whom mimic other famous creatures, such as Wild Things and the musicians of Bremen—complement this strange tale of adventure, cleverness, and storytelling.
— Maggie Reagan

 

Who doesn’t enjoy riddles? U.K. author Kevin Crossley-Holland’s picture book The Riddlemaster (Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 32 pages, $19, hardcover) should be a favourite with early readers age 4-7.

Anouk, Ben and Cara know there is treasure buried on the island across the bay, but can only reach it by solving a series of riddles. As they succeed with each one they approach their prize, but also the fierce beasts on the island. Marvellous watercolour illustrations by Montreal artist Stéphane Jorisch add humour and suspense to the text.

Winnipeg author Helen Norrie enjoys riddles — and also good children’s books.

Winnipeg Free Press

 

“I’ve just received Kevin C-H’s and Stephane Jorisch’s The Riddlemaster.  It’s an absolute tour de force, a classic.  I’ve  not been so impressed by a contemporary picture book in a very long time.”

Siân Williams, BBC Presenter

 

Anouk, Ben and Cara dream of a fabulous treasure buried on the golden island across the harbor. A mysterious and grizzled old man offers them passage on his boat, but only if they can solve seven vexing riddles. If they succeed, a strange and magical prize awaits them. Enchanting illustrations by Stephane Jorisch illuminate this original story by one of Britain’s best-loved children’s authors. “The Riddlemaster” is especially commended and thoroughly entertaining for children ages 4 to 8, and certain to be an enduringly popular addition for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections..

Midwest Book Review

 

Hugely talented Kevin Crossley-Holland’s new book is a riddling tour-de-force…

Read the whole review at Read It Daddy

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