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The Sigh Hardcover – December 7, 2011
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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*Starred Review* While lyrical fantasy is not Satrapi’s usual bailiwick, the elements of childhood figure prominently in her work, including her deservedly revered graphic memoir Persepolis (2003). In this book—which has the most in common with Satrapi’s single picture book, Monsters Are Afraid of the Moon (2006)—themes and archetypal situations from centuries’ worth of fairy tales play out in the story of a merchant and his three daughters, one of whom is swept off by Ah the Sigh (pictured as a sort of smudgy, floating teardrop). The daughter, Rose, journeys through joy, sorrow, and longing as she inadvertently kills her beloved and undergoes a period of servitude before achieving redemption through her own perseverance and intelligence. Archetypal though it may be, and adhering only to the logic of fairy tales, Satrapi’s narrative paints compelling feelings in broad strokes. While it is distinctly not a graphic novel in the traditional sense, some of the iconography of sequential art is effortlessly and poetically woven into imagery with thick, dark lines and emotionally resonant colors that suggest both the simplicity of a youthful perspective and a more mature emotional complexity. Containing fairy tale–appropriate gruesomeness and cruelty along with its happy ending, the all-ages story never loses touch with the childhood it is looking to illuminate. Grades 6-12. --Jesse Karp
About the Author
Marjane Satrapi was born in 1969 in Rasht, Iran. She lived in Iran during the fall of the Shah, the Iranian Revolution, the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini, and the first years of the Iran-Iraq War, before her family fled to Europe. She later returned to study at the Islamic Azad University in Tehran. Her graphic novel autobiography, Persepolis, describing her childhood in Iran and adolescence in Europe, became a critically acclaimed worldwide success, winning the Coup de Coeur Award at the 2001 Angoulême International Comics Festival. She co-directed an animated adaptation of her autobiography with Vincent Paronnaud, which won the Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. She is also the author of Chicken with Plums (Pantheon Books) and Monsters are Afraid of the Moon (Bloomsbury).
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Maybe you haven't read a lot of fairy tales, but to me, this is all a bit familiar. However, Marjane's illustrations are colorful and beautiful - they make the book a pleasure to read. Though the story isn't detailed in the way a novel is, Rose is nicely developed. She realizes her mistake and wants to fix it, but on her journey to bring her prince back to life, she selflessly helps three other families. In a nice twist, she's offered a man's hand in marriage as payment for two of the families she's helped. I'm used to reading about princesses being offered up, so it was nice to see a female heroine. The moral of the story is that life is fleeting and we never know when it might end, so we must cherish what we have, while we have it.