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Thursday, August 11, 2016

I Am Pan, written and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein. Roaring Brook, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2016. $22.95 ages 6 and up

"It's a new feeling I just
invented. I call it PANIC,
after ME!

From then on I used panic
whenever my naps were
disturbed. Sometimes I
used it to help friends
against enemies ... "

If Pan were as mischievous as the prolific Mordicai Gerstein describes him in this homage to one of the most notable Greek gods, then this book is perfect fare for the young children who will love to hear his story. Pan is very much like them ... childish and full of fun!

He may be noisy, but his heart is in exactly the right place. He wreaks havoc wherever he goes throughout his lifetime ... never losing his zest for life and tomfoolery. As he ages, the gods become less enamored of his behaviors and ask him to make his way to Arcadia where there will be much to keep him busy and occupied. There is so much to do there, and he does it with great gusto.

His tale is told in quickly read chapters, fashioned with cartoon-like panels that take readers from one special event to the next. His first person voice is fresh and telling, garnering feelings of warmth and admiration as he goes about annoying and delighting both gods and humans. He is larger than life, and we are along for the ride that is that life he leads.

The book is great fun to read aloud, and will have young children chuckling as they listen to Pan's voice explaining the many happenings in his life. The book is filled with action and movement, and bold, beautiful color - all those things that will attract attention and make for a memorable story. It is a terrific introduction to Greek mythology for kids.                                                             

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