The Book That Made Me: Philip Reeve 16/10/19
The King of Birds
Gamayun Tales 1
One day, a magical apple is stolen and dropped on the forest floor, where it is found by a greedy mouse. The mouse’s lifelong friend, Sparrow, is so upset that the mouse doesn’t share any of the delicious apple with her, she flies to the King of Birds – a great, gold-crowned Eagle – for help.
Incensed, the King of Birds declares war on the animals, and a great battle is fought, which the birds win, but at great cost.
The King of Birds is wounded until a merchant, who has been bitten by a magical snake and so can understand the language of animals, takes the wounded King of Birds home and nurses him back to health for three years. As a reward, the King of Birds takes the merchant on its back to its magical kingdoms of copper, silver and gold – but a reward isn’t as straightforward as you might think…
Gamayun, the magical human-faced bird of Slavic mythology, narrates this vibrant and luxurious graphic novel for younger readers. Alexander Utkin’s blue, orange and yellow-dominated visuals are both painterly and modern, and the story is magical and full of the strangeness of the original fairytale that inspired it.