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Gorky Rises Paperback – September 1, 1986


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Learn more about classic children's book writer and illustrator William Steig (PDF), whose books are now available in Kindle book editions.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 690L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish; Reprint edition (September 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374427844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374427849
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.4 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"One summer morning when his parents aren't about, frog Gorky sets up a laboratory in the kitchen and concocts a potion...His wondrous flight is described in language that bubbles with magical phrases, and the illustrations bloom with Steig's luminous art." --Starred, School Library Journal

"Orbiting Steig's world with Gorky is an experience I recommend to everyone."-The New Yorker

About the Author

William Steig (1907-2003) was a cartoonist, illustrator and author of award-winning books for children, including Shrek!, on which the DreamWorks movies are based. Steig was born in New York City. Every member of his family was involved in the arts, and so it was no surprise when he decided to become an artist. He attended City College and the National Academy of Design. In 1930, Steig’s work began appearing in The New Yorker, where his drawings have been a popular fixture ever since. He published his first children's book, Roland the Minstrel Pig, in 1968.
 
In 1970, Steig received the Caldecott Medal for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. His books for children also include Dominic; The Real Thief; The Amazing Bone, a Caldecott Honor Book; Amos & Boris, a National Book Award finalist; and Abel's Island and Doctor De Soto, both Newbery Honor Books. Steig's books have also received the Christopher Award, the Irma Simonton Black Award, the William Allen White Children's Book Award, and the American Book Award. His European awards include the Premio di Letteratura per l'infanzia (Italy), the Silver Pencil Award (the Netherlands), and the Prix de la Fondation de France. On the basis of his entire body of work, Steig was selected as the 1982 U.S. candidate for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for Illustration and subsequently as the 1988 U.S. candidate for Writing.
 
Stieg also published thirteen collections of drawings for adults, beginning with About People in 1939, and including The Lonely Ones, Male/Female, The Agony in the Kindergarten, and Our Miserable Life.
 
He died in Boston at the age of 95.

More About the Author

William Steig (1907-2003) published his first children's book, Roland the Minstrel Pig, in 1968, and received the Caldecott Medal for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (978-1416902065) in 1970. His works also include The Amazing Bone, a Caldecott Honor Book, and Abel's Island and Doctor De Soto, both Newbery Honor Books. His most recent books published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux are Shrek! (released by DreamWorks as a major motion picture) and Wizzil, illustrated by Quentin Blake. School Library Journal named Shrek! a Best Book of 1990 and said of it, "Steig's inimitable wit and artistic dash have never been sharper or more expertly blended."

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this story to my son when he was a little tyke. He's now nearly 20. I haven't read the book in years, yet, lately, I've been thinking a lot about Gorky and his travels away from home, up into the "blue, blue sky". Guess it has something to do with my 3 kids all about ready to take off on their own. The prose is marvelous, full of colorful and descriptive language, the story is beautiful, about the joy and pain of growing up and away, and the illustrations are an added benefit, though unnecessary due to the ability of the author to draw wonderful pictures with his magical use of the English language. Thank you William Steig!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By goonius on June 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of William Steig, and we own at least a dozen of his books. This one, however, is my least favorite.

A frog named Gorky makes a strange magical concoction which sends him on an airborne journey. A great deal of time is spent on the admirers as he floats through the sky. He then runs into trouble with a thunderstorm, wishes to go home, eventually figures a method of pulling himself back to Earth (by emptying the magic solution from the bottle one drip at a time). And the last drip in the bottle turns a rock into an elephant.

I like bizarre, and I've even been known to be a fan of randomness. This book certainly has both, and Steig's language is - as always - colorful. But the story is long, drags in a number of places for me, and really never hits the right chord.

I'd never advise anyone to not give a book a chance - clearly there are some who do like this one - but I feel there are a number of books by Steig that are far more interesting and entertaining.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mauriac on January 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
My almost four year old loves this book - we've read it several times a day since we got it (though I omit parts as we go along). It is a magical story, with random elements - not only in the plot but in the emotions and wording as well, which was disconcerting to me. I feel like this should be a fun, innocent, enjoyable book, but I think that the author meant it to be a bit jarring.

What really brought this feeling home for me was when his parents "were so worried that they were ready to kill themselves just to end their misery." How appropriate is that for a picture book? I skip over this sentence when I read Gorky Rises to my son.

There are two other references to death in the book: one humourous (Gorky "almost croaked" when he saw some scary creatures in the sky, which turned out to be kites); one not so much (if Gorky falls asleep while floating, he will "die with a shocking crash").

At the beginning of the book, Gorky puts a bit of his father's cognac in his magical mixture. Hmmm.

Gorky laughs at his cousin's "look of stupid wonder" when Gorky floats by. Why stupid? A sly commentary on the reader who is also watching Gorky's fly through the sky?

The more I think about this book, the less I like it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dog Walker on October 5, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this for a "future time," but our 2 yr old actually likes it now. Sometimes he only makes it through half, but he still picks it out for bedtime. The illustrations and language are wonderful. This is one of the stories that my husband doesn't get tired of reading over and over to the baby.
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