ELVIS 1956 REFLECTIONS.
Morrie E. Kricun and Virginia Kricun.
182 pages. $49.95.
This is a magnificent book of shadows and light.
Elvis Presley was on his way out beyond the stratosphere of celebrity in 1956, a long, seemingly endless ride that continues today, 15 years after his death.
This book, with more than 100 previously unpublished photographs by Ed Braslaff, frames the early ascent of that ride in the poetry of black-and-white.
The size of a long-playing 33 rpm record album, the book shows Elvis resting, goofing, posing and pondering at the Hollywood Knickerbocker Hotel before the filming of "Love Me Tender." Part two is an extensive chronology of 1956 news items about Elvis taken from newspapers and magazines around the country.
The photos are captioned with thoughts by brilliant intellects who probably didn't give a knish about the King of Rock and Roll; folks like Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer, who is quoted under a picture of Elvis listening to a portable record player. The writer says: "Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression."
A wop-bop-a-loo-op-a-wop-bam boom!
In 1946, Marguerite Henry's fine children's book, "Justin Morgan Had a Horse," won a Newbery Honor Medal, and in 1948 "Misty of Chincoteague" earned the same award. Over the years, with illustrator Wesley Dennis, Ms. Henry wrote books that have become favorites with young readers. Now comes "Misty's Twilight," and children will love this one as well.
When Misty's pony, Sunshine (born on Chincoteague), is mated to the stallion Big Bluffer, the result is Twilight, a foal with Sunshine's splashy point spots and her sire's spirit and strength. Ms. Henry's readers travel with Dr. Sandy Price and her son and daughter, Chris and Pan, to Chincoteague, Va., for Pony Penning Day -- an annual celebration in which the wild ponies of Assateague are rounded up to swim across the narrow channel at low tide to be sold at auction for the benefit of the local fire department. Chris gets the red pony he picks immediately for his own. Pam's Pie naturally becomes Pam Price's choice, and Sandy is allowed to have a little spitfire of a 3-month-old foal. When Sunshine is added to this group, the Prices head home to Florida.
Readers will enjoy following the breeding, the training and the beginning career of Twilight's young life. Ms. Henry's writing is so clear that everyone can enjoy discovering "horse terminology" -- the language of horse-show competition. Twilight becomes a cutting horse, a jumper and, ultimately, a dancer who participates and wins equestrian programs. As they follow Twilight's life and career, readers also become involved with Dr. Price's children as they grow up.
Karen Granpre, a new illustrator for Ms. Henry's books, has her own distinctive style, but the design of the book will be familiar to all of the writer's fans with its lovely colorful cover and the many illustrations. Ms. Henry ends with a plea for Twilight to be a symbol for children to rally around; a symbol of what Nature has to offer us, and what we stand to lose if we aren't careful.
JUDITH B. ROSENFELD
252 pages. $20.95; $9.95 paperback.
"Speaking Dreams," by Severna Park -- the pen name for a writer who works in the Maryland public school system -- is fairly generic space opera. It's replete with a prescient slave; an ambassador of the empire, who is involved in interplanetary intrigue, and a horde of man-eating aliens. The plot owes more to fantasy than science, but the writing style is better than such well-worn story lines normally receive. The only notable departure from genre standard is that the slave and ambassador become lesbian lovers.
The publisher, Firebrand Books of Ithaca, N.Y., seems to foster feminist and lesbian subjects. However, the lesbianism in "Speaking Dreams" is hardly the stuff of propaganda. Despite this one unusual element, there is not much to distinguish this novel from the hundreds of other pulp rocket reruns released each year.