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A Ghost Story Hardcover – August 21, 2001
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Stunning full-color photographs of an African-American family fail to make up for a weak story. The tale is told first from Jonathan's point of view-he believes there is a ghost in his room that knocks his books off the shelves and throws his basketball in the fish tank. Then his sister, Celeste, chimes in, describing how she loves to sing and how her jealous brother is imagining a crazy ghost. They both are anxiously awaiting their uncle's visit. The relative arrives and readers see photos that depict his life out West. Then he listens to Celeste sing and helps Jonathan catch his ghost with a sheet, throwing it out the window. The clear photographs with intriguing shadows capture flying objects and tell the story of a very caring family. It is touching how Uncle Pete pays attention to both children. However, the story is disjointed and lacks cohesion. Readers are left confused and unsatisfied-does the ghost really exist? Turn to Crews's more successful photo-essays, such as Snowball (1997) and You Are Here (1998, both Greenwillow), for a better appreciation of her art.
Anne Knickerbocker, Cedar Brook Elementary School, Houston, TX
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Nina Crews grew up n New York City. After graduating from Yale University in 1985, she worked in commercial animation production and contributed illustrations to magazines, including the Village Voice and Parenting. Her first picture book, One Hot Summer Day, was published in 1995. It was followed by I'll Catch the Moon and Snowball.
In her own words....
"I look back to move forward on a new children's book. I try to remember a much younger me and recreate some of the things that delighted me then. These pleasures were often quite simple, perhaps the shape or taste of something or the colors that it evoked-and everything was set against a noisy, busy, city backdrop.
"I was raised in New York City. I think I've always loved it. There may have been more tall buildings than trees, but I enjoyed the city and all its variety. The people, the neighborhoods, all of the city's quirkiness were endlessly exciting.
"I started taking pictures at an early age, and the city was my first subject. I grew up in a family of artists and saw the children's-book business firsthand. My parents, Donald Crews and Ann Jonas, always encouraged my sister and me in all our art projects. I had wellrounded art training in high school but became more focused on photography in college. Since then I have been working in commercial animation production and doing freelance photo-collage illustration.
"I love making collages. Some of my favorite artists—Romare Bearden, Hannah Hoch, and Man Ray—combined photography and collage. Collage allows me to use photography playfully and to tell a story on many levels.
"I enjoy photographing children. The interaction always adds something to the project; their performances always give me new ideas. I try to keep the photography session as loose as possible. Collaging the images allows me a great deal of freedom. Basically, almost anything can happen.
"Writing the text is another kind of challenge. I try to find a good balance between the written story and the visual story. Each one should help the other. Picture books are the combination of two forms of poetry, written and visual, and their flow should be musical. I find myself reading a lot of poetry while I work on ideas.
"As a child I loved books and I loved to look. The more there was to see in any one image, the better. I also loved books that were set in city places. I hope that a new generation will get these same pleasures from my books."
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