Startling and memorable. . . glorious ambiguity invites repeat reads. . . . It is a rare picture book that works best with older readers—this is a stellar example.
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
A story that demands that its readers return to each page. . . This mesmerizing work offers potential jumping-off points to discuss many topics, including magical realism, symbolism, family relationships and roles, and mental health.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Surreal. . . Themes of determination, family traditions, and love are manifested in the words and images. The washout-desert palette in the hauntingly beautiful realistic mixed-media illustrations creates an eerie sense of foreboding (carried through to the ambiguous ending) that cues readers into the otherworldliness of the story. . . . Masterful use of light, spot color, and scale mark this as a significant piece of bookmaking.
—The Horn Book (starred review)
A visually gripping, cyclical tale of sacrifice and determination. . . . Pragmatic text sits in somber contrast to Pinfold’s lushly detailed and unsettling mixed-media artwork. The meticulous nature of the art lures the reader’s eye to the tiniest illustrative details. . . . Pinfold (The Song from Somewhere Else) blends underworld mythology with fairy-tale sensibility to haunting effect.
—Shelf Awareness (starred review)
Haunting and surreal. . . Photorealistic and dazzling, the illustrations capture the fine details of spaces both real and imagined in precise, lasting terms.
—Foreword Reviews (starred review)
Chilly, precision-drafted spreads with dazzling architectural motifs confer gravitas on this haunting fairy tale centering a steely character who remains resolute in the face of trickery.
Pinfold lures readers into a story aswirl with mystery, dust, and darkness. . . Snippets of an eerie rhyme and the presence of a talking lion bestow a folkloric quality to the story, which also calls to mind Chris Van Allsburg’s Jumanji. . . a haunting journey that readers won’t easily shake.
The whole story has the haunting, ominous feel of an old, dark fairy tale. . . atmospheric.
—School Library Journal