Gr. 5-8. "There are ways to know if they are in your backyard," reads the first line of Shyamalan's debut picture book, an effort as creepy, suspenseful, and flawed as many of the director's post-Sixth Sense
are sea nymphs called narfs, who reside beneath swimming pools and magically transform the lives of the humans they encounter. Moody, silvery scenes by film-industry-artist McCreery amplify the mystical qualities of the telling; less successful are the book's puzzling elements--from the curious hieroglyphs appearing on every spread to the overzealous use of white space, which makes both art and text seem too sparse. The story is loosely based on Shyamalan's PG-13-rated film by the same name, and despite the fact that the book appears to have been conceived with younger children in mind, its sophisticated qualities make it most appropriate for readers old enough to see the movie. This will also attract high-school film buffs (and many adults) who are curious to see Shyamalan's brooding creativity expressed in a new form. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Director, screenwriter, actor. Born Manoj Night Shyamalan, on August 6, 1970, in Pondicherry, India. His family moved to the United States when Shyamalan was still a young boy, settling in the suburbs of Philadelphia. The son of two physicians, he dreamed of becoming a filmmaker; he was given a camera at age 10 and made no fewer than 45 short films by the time he was 15. Shyamalan, who was raised a Hindu, attended a Catholic private school and Philadelphias Episcopal Academy before becoming a film major at New York Universitys Tisch School of the Arts.
Shyamalan graduated from NYU in 1993. By that time, he had already written, directed, and starred in his first full-length feature, Praying With Anger, the semi-autobiographical story of an Indian-American who returns to India to attend college. Filmed on location, the low-budget independent feature received little notice from either critics or audiences. Shyamalan sold a second screenplay, for a project entitled Labor of Love, to Fox in 1993; the project failed to get off the ground, reportedly because the studio was unwilling to put Shyamalan in the directors chair.