Loukas & the Game of Chance by Anthony L Manna – Book Review

by Anthony L Manna
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five-stars
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Loukas & the Game of Chance by Anthony L Manna (Author)
Donald Babisch (Illustrator)

While Loukas is playing his flute at the seawall one day, he befriends a mysterious talking, dancing snake that rewards him with fortune and favor. Some years later, tempted by greed and pride, Loukas loses all his riches and his family. He must now set off on a treacherous journey through a frightening forest filled with suspense and strange creatures to find Destiny, her son Ilion, the Sun, and her daughter Luna, the Moon. These celestial guardians will surely allow him to reverse his misfortune, restore his honor, and win back all that he loves and treasures, won’t they?

A reimagined Greek folktaleLoukas and the Game of Chance is illuminated with dramatic and evocative pen and ink drawings that provide an ideal backdrop for the dark intrigue that fills this haunting story of human struggle, courage, and resilience.

Review:

Inspired by two Greek folktales, Loukas & the Game of Chance is a magical journey of discovery and redemption.  Anthony Manna’s excellent storytelling skills have presented us with a fable that both children and adults will adore.  The story is enhanced by creative and exquisite black and white artwork by Donald Babisch.  The fable and illustrations together create a beautiful unique book that is a complete delight to read.

“In a time long ago forgotten, a fisherman, his wife, and their son lived peacefully together on a remote island in the restless Aegean Sea.”  This opening line reflects Manna’s ingenuity in bringing to life people and places within this very memorable folktale.  As we take a walk with Loukas through his life I was able to visualize everything, some credit obviously to Babisch’s fascinating drawings.

I adore books that lay morals before you, but without preaching or over emphasizing.  Loukas & the Game of Chance opens up many things for you to discuss with your children.  Loukas befriends a snake he calls Lambros. I waited for the snake to turn on him, but with a wonderful twist against the ‘norm’ Lambros befriends Loukas and gives him wealth.  Preconceived ideas are a subject all unto themselves.  However, there is much more to discuss.  As the story moves along, Loukas loses his wealth, wife and children in a game of cards, and all because of his hateful pride.  But all is not lost if he can hold onto hope.

Loukas goes on a journey seeking redemption.  His path takes him through a huge forest where he encounters imaginative and fantastical creatures who bemoan his wasted journey.  Can he hold onto hope?  I felt the forest represented the unknown within him.  Could he walk through the forest (his emotions) and embrace the obstacles set before him, to overcome fear and uncertainty and be able to reach clarity and hope?

Anthony L Manna has crafted a fable that I can see lasting through generations.  I can imagine it becoming a child’s favorite that they treasure and read to their own children.  Lessons on life gently wrapped in a mystical and magical tale that grabs the imagination and educates the soul.  Impeccable descriptive writing and captivating narration, along with illustrations that spark the creative thought make this a must read book. Loukas & the Game of Chance by Anthony L Manna comes very highly recommended by Artisan Book Reviews for all ages of readers. Book reviewed by T N Traynor for ABR.

 

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