Arthur and the Golden Rope (Brownstone’s Mythical Collection) by Joe Todd Stanton. Flying Eye Books, 2016. 9781911171034.
Nobrow / Flying Eye books make me happy. They have amazing color and seem to delight in the craft of sharing stories and information. Plus they always have an extra touch or two, like the gold foil on the cover of Arthur and the Golden Rope, which caught my attention immediately.
It opens with an old man welcoming us to the Brownstone family vault, a room full of valuable and powerful artifacts (masks, helmets, weapons, taxidermied animals) where the most treasured items are the books that tell the stories of the man’s ancestors’ adventures. This is the story of the first such adventure, that of the unlikely hero Arthur, a boy from a small Icelandic town who loved to explore the forest and befriended the strange creatures he met there. One day a huge wolf puts out the town’s great fire. To relight it, someone needs to travel across the sea to where the Vikings live, and convince the god with the magic hammer to relight the fire. Despite the townsfolk’s doubts, Arthur sets off to find the god of storms.
The colors are all amazing, from the forests to the Viking god described in a tale to the injured townsfolk’s clothes and the books in the library in the gods’ hall. Every panel and bit of text drew me on to the next, but many of the drawings made me linger, and I’ve found myself going back and rereading bits and pieces just to enjoy them again.
This book belongs in all grade school and middle school libraries.