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Burroughs has never been accused of being a literary genius, although his stories have reached every corner of the world, his books are published in over sixty different languages (not counting dialects), his tales have been the basis for dozens of films, TV series, animations and comics. What Mr. Burroughs was gifted with was the art of storytelling and that trait has made him a legend.
Mindoka, 937th Earl of One Mile Series M is a story that sprung from that ability. No one knows for certain when this wonderful tale was created, perhaps it was one of the series of bedtime stories Burroughs told his children each night. All of them created on the spot as he paced the hall of their small home and spoke in a loud voice so that all in the house could hear. What ever occurred, Burroughs liked this particular story so much that he committed it to paper. Of a sorts, at least. He used the backs of old letterheads from the mining company, photo bills from Pocatello and letterheads of the American Genealogical Society to compose this story. None of the hand written manuscript is dated, nor was it discovered until 1955, five years after his death, in his personal belongings. The paper the story was written on gives proof that this is Burroughs first ever written work, never before seen by another beside himself until after he had died and never published until today. This makes that story almost a century old!
The tale is very strange, not at all like his works that were published in his lifetime. This is a children's story, it is written with the intention of being read aloud to children and has all the classic elements of fairy tales. Horrible monsters, magic spells, beautiful damsels to rescue and battles to be fought, all of these are in there along with a never before seen look at the man's sense of humor.
The story itself is quite captivating, even if it is a bit difficult to read for an adult. I dare say that I will be hard pressed to pronounce some of the words that Burroughs has created for this story, but many of the characters and creatures are quite endearing. I really liked the hoobody and hookidooki. The hoobody reminded me of one of the mythical creatures of my people, the Apache, (perhaps that's where he got the idea) and the hookidooki was just plain fun to read about even if it was a villain.
The setting for the story is Idaho of a million or more years in the past, but with European type kingdoms all based as the origin of Irish names. Very interesting concept and for the life of me I can't determine why he took that tact in the story. But it matters not, as the tale is fantastic.
Many aspects of his published works can be seen in this story. The way his heroes act and react is based on this tale. Many animals and places for completely unrelated stories are mentioned here as something else. It is almost as if he created an entire universe from the seeds that he planted for himself in this story to his children.
There is something else that is very special about this book. The cover art is a painting by J. Allen St. John that has never been published before. Who is St. John, you ask? This is the man that made every single cover painting for Burroughs books starting in 1915 with The Son of Tarzan and ending in 1942 with The Tiger Girl (I have copies of all of these). The painting was made over 50 years ago when an art director told St. John that it was impossible for an artist to do an illustration using all known mediums that were known at the time. St. John went to his loft and created a drawing he titled Minidoka by those exact means just to prove the man wrong. This cover is the first printing of that painting.
The book is a mere 63 pages long with about 15 of those pages being lavishly drawn full page illustrations. Each page also has drawings around the edges that have to do with what the story is talking about at the time.
The book is published by Dark Horse Comics and is available now at all book stores. You will more than likely have to special order it, because it is a limited edition print. The price is ... well worth it. I can hardly wait until it is mass produced so that I can get a reading copy to give my children when they are old enough. Get one of these first prints while they are still out there. You will never regret it.
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The book also gives many programming ideas. It explains how you can adapt some of your existing programs for children into programs with high teen appeal,as well as creating new programs. Once you have planned your new program, the book has marketing tips to improve teen turn out. Many additional sources of ideas and advice are liberally scattered throughout the book.
There are also chapters on serving the underserved, issues of intellectual freedom and teens, and training the young adult staff.
This book will be a welcome addition to any public library's professional development collection.
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Who knew the guy would come calling the dues?
Easily the most popular story in Waid's run on the Flash, the Return of Barry Allen is a fan's dream, with meticulously researched info and an accessible story. Unfortunately, the biggest surprise isn't, and Barry's big secret is pretty easy to see coming. The final chapter also trips the line between drama and melodrama, though the opening to the final fight scene is astounding and poetic.
Published in the midst of the "Kill/revamp/screw around with your hero" craze that started with the Death of Superman, when Barry Allen showed up in the Flash comic book, a lot of us didn't know what to make of it. Barry, alias Flash II, had died the ultimate heroic death in "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and had become the Official Martyr of the DC Universe. His nephew, Wally West, took on the Flash mantle but had always struggled, trapped under Barry's shadow.
The best way to sum up this story is with the old chestnut, "Be careful what you wish for." When Barry returns, it seems like the greatest thing that could happen. As it turns out, this isn't the case. The twist doesn't come as too big a surprise to anyone familiar with Flash history, but this story wasn't really about the twist -- it was about the legacy of the Flash, one of Earth's heroes, created by Jay Garrick and immortalized by Barry Allen, and it was about the efforts of the heir to that legacy to rise to the challenge and become not only a hero, but a man. It's a marvelous, touching story, and it's something every Flash fan should read.
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Since I heard this quote, I tracked down a copy of the book after searching a half dozen bookstores and libraries, and it was worth every minute of work to find it. This book has been put on the highest level of appreciation in my mind, up there with Richard Bach's 'Illusion' and 'One'; my two other favorite books. Rilke's book was written for the artist; the person who wants to live life to its fullest and explore both the inner and outer world and their connections.
Although, as another reviewer said, this book will not be fully appreciated by all readers, it is a must read for everyone, especially those who appreciate spirituality, art and living.
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At the same time, I know what the reviewer means when she says there are a number of places in the story where events are scary or off-putting to many readers. The author isn't trying to write a shocker or a gross-out book, but he tries hard to be honest about his youthful life, and along with the delightful experiences he had in developing his artistic talents, there were some disturbing events that left him confused and hurt at the time. People who know his wonderful children's picture books might not be prepared for this one, in which not everything is "sweetness and light." So the lone "two-star" reviewer has done an important favor in cautioning you what to expect.
Nonetheless, young people looking for books that reflect some of the hard realities of life -- or who at least can read about them without being too discouraged -- can gain a lot from reading this powerfully account of the good and the bad in the life of a very unusual boy who grew into a very unusual man.