REVIEWS

 

“This book is full of magic and fantasy, and at the same time free of all the hallmarks of a traditional fairy–tale. I am not even certain that it’s a book for children. Yet it mesmerizes like a dream with unpredictable landscapes, emerging with every step of its plot. With every move of my hand turning the page, new colorful patterns open up, like in a kaleidoscope. In its phantasmagorical scale it’s perhaps in the same league as the fantasies of E.T.A. Hoffmann, I am convinced that every reader of ‘Spark’ will be impatiently waiting as I am, for the arrival of every new book of the series.”

 

Andrey Usachev, poet, prose writer, author of numerous books for children. Moscow

 

Spark the Stone Man introduces readers to enchanting Lemon Drop Valley, an innovative new world inhabited by Yushkas, Pyzhiks, and Klots. This author’s descriptions evoke strong visual images of the charming characters, like the Wizard Lestro with his twenty thousand pairs of miraculous boots!  The illustrations and text are magical with a delightful old world ambiance. Humorous characters and a unique setting make this series stand out in a publishing world of cookie cutter fantasies.”

 

Nancy K. Wallace, Youth Services Librarian and Book Reviewer, USA

 

“…The beauty of this bold creation consists in that we can never say for sure whether the hero is immersed in a wonderful dream or he experiences everything for real… He is omnipotent as a witness yet as a dreamer he is powerless to change anything and his worst nightmare is his inability to act.

 

Oksana Bulgakowa, Professor of Film Studies at the Gutenberg University, Mayence, Germany.

 

Spark the Stone Man is a collection of short fables and children stories from Asya Pekurovskaya who provides an intriguing twist on many concepts of fantasy with her own Lemon Drop Valley, with her own brand of magic and wonder. With unique and descriptive illustrations from Olga Titova, Spark the Stone man is a fine collection for younger readers”.

 

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review, USA

“This cryptic, undying tale of a magical author will not disappoint either real children or the child in older readers, who wants (like Alice) a book with pictures, and conversation, and nonsense in it. Beautifully illustrated in full color, the art animates alien worlds that are new yet simultaneously familiar terrain, as the courageous and charming hero, Spark, is torn between Granite Mountain and Lemon Drop Valley.  He encounters a variety of creatures of various temperaments, and, as in Lewis Carroll, the story has a philosophical component.”

 

Anne Gendler–Schmitt, Evanston, Illinois

 

Spark the Stone Man is the first project of Pekasus that published the book in two languages. Along with the author, Asya Pekurovskaya, and the talented animation artist, Olga Titova who supplied vivid and inventive illustrations, one should mention the third participant of the creative team – the animAtion director, Aida Zyablikova. For the animation director knows (as Pekasus declared from the outset) “how to build a captivating plot” and how to make plot a spellbinding tale. That is why the first book promises continuation and the readers set to expect new and new adventures. (There are six books planned all together and four are already written and translated).

Spark the Stone Man is introduced as an inhabitant of a mysterious country situated at the foot of Granite Mountain. No matter how many countries of that sort are brought into being, there will be ever appearing new ones, because new fairy tale creators will be b born again and again. Sometimes these countries will share common boundaries like ‘three countries that can’t be found on a map’ by Leo Kassil or like the Oz country by Frank Baum and the Emerald City by Alexander Volkov. And occasionally they can be distanced from each other, like Laputa and Hogwarts or like the kingdom of Bedlam and the Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors. However, all mysterious countries have something in common: they exist in the very vicinity  of its creator’s home, perhaps, in their back yard – at a distance of one gander away from a window…”

 

Andrey Ustinov for “The New Life”, San Francisco, USA

 

“The strange and whimsical world of this fairy tale is unique and echoes at times the strange world of quantum physics or unsell–conscious but profound pronouncements of a precocious child…  I do not recall another fairy tale that dwells in passing on a roundness of a square. For a child this remark is strange and curious, but for an adult reader this is a hidden reference to the quadrature of a circle, a perennial philosophical and mathematical problem.”

A. Motalygo, Cupertino, USA

 

 

“With the first book of the series – Spark, the Stone Man – Asya Pekurovskaya tapped into the imagination of my two boys (4 and 6). I was happy to see them so engaged in both the story and the fantastic illustrations, but I must admit I struggled to keep up with their questions as they discovered the ways and wonders of Granite Mountain, Lemon Drop Valley, and the whimsical set of characters introduced in the first book. Book one is composed of a dozen and one tales, which we read at bedtime over a few days. Each evening brought a set of tales that tickled their imagination in new ways and transported us through to the end of the book. I hoped for a story my kids would love but found myself just as drawn to the characters and their adventures.

The illustrations are busting with colors and expression. Like a gourmet dinner with a great wine pairing the illustrations together with text make this book a keeper for the kids and the parents. No doubt, it also makes for a start-out gift in hard cover.”

 

Olaf Brandt, Palo Alto, California, USA

 

“Ah, a fantasy story in the tradition of the Brothers Grimm, Hans Andersen and J.R.R. Tolkien written by Russian author, Asya Pekurovskaya and lovingly, creatively illustrated by Olga Titova! <…> It is a treat to find such abundant illustrations in a middle grade book. The prose is exciting And leads the younger reader deeper into the story. The author isn’t afraid to use detailed descriptions and “bigger” words for children to absorb as they learn, perhaps, thinking they are only enjoying the story. Teachers in grades 3 to 8 can use the book to read aloud, promote language development, enact, and use it as a jump start to creative writing. There also Russian versions for bi–lingual learning.”

 

Judith Nasse, author, teacher, critic. Taos, New Mexico, USA

 

“In this book review I will be discussing two amazing books in the Spark the Stone Man series, written by Asya Pekurovskaya which, in my opinion, are works of genius! I was totally captivated by not only the beautiful illustrations by Olga Titova in both books but also page after page of alluring mystery and fantasy. Children as well as the entire family will enjoy these humorous characters placed in a unique setting. The series would make an excellent addition to your child’s library collection and provide stories that your child will read time and time again.”

 

N.K. Gilbert, an author of Children’s Series, Book Reviewer. Bossier, Louisiana, USA

 

Spark, the Stone Man returns with a second magical volume! Its Seuss-like characters contend with intrigue, kidnapping and treachery in Lemon Drop Valley. Text and illustrations are skillfully woven to form a beautiful, innovative package. The whimsical series is marked by exceptional originality and a unique old world flavor.”

 

Nancy K. Wallace, Youth Services Librarian and Book Reviewer, USA.

 

“As promised, this second book, Spark the Stone Man in the series by Asya Pekurovskaya, deepens the adventures and dangers involving Spark, the inhabitants of Lemon Drop Valley, and especially Stella the Yushka who Spark tries to save from the attack by the Volchaks <…>.

The second book follows a more complicated plot than the first. The young reader will delight in following Spark’s further adventures. As in the first book, the illustrations richly enhance the story. Perhaps, in class or at home, the young child can be encouraged to design and illustrate maps and scenes of his own as well as dramatize the story.She can use the book as a jump–start to her own creative writing. There is also a Russian version for bi-lingual learning. The website has other suggestions for the classroom. Also, based on the books, there could be an e-mail or snail-mail pen pal exchange with young people in Russia. This book is a must on any home or classroom library shell.”

 

Judith Nasse, author, teacher, critic. Taos, New Mexico, USA.

 

Spark the Stone Man is the second book of the first series about the discovery of Lemon Drop Valley’s secret dwellers. Characterized by incredible anime–influenced illustrations of high artistic quality and daring, imaginative action–oriented characters and plot twists, Spark the Stone Man takes the young readers further into the strange fantasy world of Lemon Drop Valley, where all is not so well as it might seem. Suffice it to say, a dangerous quest confronts Spark, dealing with wizards, obstacles and the imprisonment of Stella, a furry tailed Yushka beauty that Spark has secretly fallen in love with <…>. Spark the Stone Man ends with a cliffhanger invitation to read the next installment as soon as it is available (after this volume has been read 18 times by the fans). Spark the Stone Man is an inventive, embroidered chapter fantasy tale that will keep the interest of middle school age to elementary age children.”

 

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review, USA