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Gorky Rises Paperback – September 1, 1986
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“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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another fantastic adventure by William Steig! Versatile for all ages; a fun family tale.Published 9 months ago by abergen
GORKY RISES is a bit sophisticated for my grandchild who is just 22 months...but the idea is poetic and I plan to read it to her as soon as she is ready.Published on June 25, 2010 by Kay D. Weeks