Synopses & Reviews
Caldecott Medalist Richard Egielski teams up with Jonah Winter for a story of friendship, fights, and musical comedy!
Welcome to Topsy-Turvydom, a magical kingdom (well, more like an opera stage) full of pirates, policemen, fairies, and fake mustaches! Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Sullivan have ruled this kingdom together in peace, but one day, Mr. Sullivan decides he's had enough. Every opera they write is the same silly old story, and he's ready for something different. Something serious!
Mr. Gilbert is stunned. He's lost his business partner and his best friend, and he needs a brilliant idea in order to get him back.
"Covering much of the same ground as Mike Lee's marvelous 1999 biopic Topsy-Turvy (with a G-rated filter, of course), Winter (Barack) and Egielski (The End) present the backstory of The Mikado. The storytelling gets off to a slow start; Winter first lets readers know that 'jolly old England was not so jolly' (an early spread includes a Dickensian scene of a workhouse), then gives a somewhat tortured explanation of 'topsy-turvy' that will confuse children unfamiliar with the pair's oeuvre (fans, on the other hand, may not appreciate the subtle dissing of The Pirates of Penzance and other works). It's only at midpoint that the narrative gains any momentum, as Gilbert's Japanese-fueled inspiration persuades Sullivan to collaborate on the work that will become their masterpiece. Unfortunately, Egielski's pictures never take flight; while his textured watercolors feel theatrical and he dutifully incorporates the ornate detailing and eccentricities of Victorian life, the images remain flat. Ages 4 8." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
After writing light operettas with his partner Mr. Gilbert, Mr. Sullivan decides he's had enough and leaves. When Mr. Gilbert comes across a Japanese street fair, inspiration strikes, and Gilbert and Sullivan reunite for their greatest work yet. Full color.
About the Author
Jonah Winter has written many exciting picture book biographies for children, with subjects that include Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Barack Obama, and Dizzy Gillespie. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA.
Richard Egielski received the 1987 Caldecott Medal for HEY, AL, story by Arthur Yorinks, and he has also illustrated texts by Pam Conrad, Margie Palatini, David LaRochelle, and Jonah Winter. The books he has both written and illustrated include BUZ and JAZPER, both named Best Illustrated Children's Books of the year by The New York Times.