Title: "The Tyger"
All for Love"
Author: William Blake; illustrated by Neil Waldman
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace and Co.
Length, price: 32 pages; $15.95. All ages Would you like to introduce a child you know to William Blake's poem "The Tyger"? Would you like to understand the words and feel their passion in a new way? The design of "The Tyger," illustrated by Neil Waldman in acrylics on canvas, will accomplish this for you -- from the orange endpapers (front and ** back) to the tiger done in gray and black, which opens to a four-page-long orange and black tiger, deep in the forest of many-layered underbrush under shooting stars. Each page has a bordered square within the wild world.
As each question is asked, the readers supply the answer. The words of the poem are drawn line by line, and they are repeated at the end, white print on black, six verses in all. When an illustrator borrows the words of a poem to create a picture book, the result is a creation that can add a new beauty and strength to the original. Mr. Waldman has managed to do this for Blake's inspirational poem. Children will read this book over and over; With Blake, they will ask, "What immortal hand or eye/Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?"
In her youth, Annaya Bajarat witnessed the slaughter of her family by Spanish soldiers. Later, she married a PLO terrorist who was killed by Israeli fighters. Annaya swears to avenge their deaths by assassinating the heads of various Western governments, including the president of the United States. Annaya has a reputation for not only being a top-notch assassin but also a master of disguises, so when the intelligence agencies discover the plot, they turn to the one man who can foil the conspiracy. He is Tyrell Hawthorne, a retired agent whose wife had been murdered. Reluctantly, Hawthorne agrees and the chase is on.
"Scorpio Illusion" is one of those big novels that will be sold despite a heavily padded plot, painfully thin characters, hyperbolic prose and comic book-style action. There are some holes in the novel that stagger the imagination: In one particularly glaring case, Annaya -- the consummate assassin -- beds Hawthorne and is about to murder him when she just can't bear to pull the trigger. There are some wonderful thrillers to read out there, but "The Scorpio Illusion" is not one of them.
Title: "Family Houses by the Sea"
Authors: Alexander D'Arnoux and Jerome Darblay
Publisher: Clarkson N. Potter
Length, price: 225 pages, $45
You can feel the chill of winter approaching these days, but it's easy to transport yourself back to the seashore via "Family Houses by the Sea." Granted, few of us can afford to own a second home overlooking an ocean, but it's always fun to glimpse the lives of those more fortunate.
Authors Alexander D'Arnoux and Jerome Darblay visit homes along the coastlines of Europe and the United States, so this is an eclectic grouping that ranges from a very modern Malibu beach dwelling to a 1778 Hampshire home facing the Isle of Wight designed by architects Capability Brown and Henry Holland. The furnishings within are just as wide-ranging as the homes themselves.
On the plus side, this book offers several good decorating ideas and a tradition that should appeal to any family lucky enough to spend a regular part of the year by the sea.
One Long Island family invites visitors to find a pretty seashell or piece of driftwood along the shore and write their first names on it with a marking pen. The shells serve as place cards at dinner, and when not in use make an artful arrangement atop the dining room fireplace mantel with votive candles interspersed.
On the minus side, there are several annoying typographical errors in the book that one does not expect for a $45 price tag.