Books by Ellin Greene

MOTHER’S SONG by Ellin Greene
Released: March 17, 2008

Greene, respected folklorist, storyteller and early-childhood expert, revives a 19th-century English nursery love song originally penned by the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould in 1895. In that magical place between awake and asleep, and with the assistance of friendly fauna, flora and fairies, a mother waxes rhapsodic on the love she bears her baby. "There's not a rose where e'er I seek / As comely as my baby's cheek." Sayles's illustrations are reminiscent of children's-book art of yesteryear—lush, large-scale powdery pastel paintings, washed with dusky lavenders, peaches and greens. There is a lovely harmony between the visual and verbal elements here, making this a sibilant, sentimental mood piece, particularly appropriate for new mothers. An erudite author's note reveals the poetic pedigree and a musical notation is appended, the better to sing the refrain: "And it's O! sweet, sweet! and a lullaby." Readers will have to decide for themselves whether this one is archaic or timeless. (Picture book. 0-3)Read full book review >
Released: March 15, 1994

A pleasantly lilting, somewhat simplified rendition of an Irish tale about a boy and his magical companion: a bull that, dying in battle, leaves the lad a sword and a tablecloth, both with unusual qualities. Before he meets the inevitable princess Billy escapes an evil stepmother, kills three giants, and—``after a terrible fight entirely''—slays a dragon, losing a shoe as he leaves the field. The princess finds it, and...well, that part of the story's familiar too. Root's illustrations twine vigorously around blocks of text, opening to full-page scenes and spreads to capture climactic moments: the bull's death (which has the swirling intensity of a painting by William Blake); Billy's hair standing comically on end when he hears the first giant's roar; the happy couple sharing a goblet at their wedding feast as king and queen drowse contentedly on either side. Greene pays fine tribute to her source, shanachie Seumas MacManus, in a prefatory note. (Folklore/Picture book. 6-8) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 15, 1993

Greene's excellent concluding note links archeological finds—suggesting that Stone Age hunters actually did trap mastodons—with this Delaware Indian legend: ``Yah-qua-whee'' (mastodons) were created to help the People; they supplied meat, hides, and bones that could be used for tent frames, and served as beasts of burden. Later they began to indulge in destructive rampages, troubling the People and also the smaller animals, who asked the Great Spirit for help. Following the Great Spirit's instructions, the People dug pits to trap the huge beasts; in the ensuing battle, the trampled ground becomes a bog where the remaining mastodons perish. After a hungry winter, the bogs were filled with pink blossoms that become blood-red, bitter cranberries—an important new resource for medicine, dye, and food. The early world has a pristine simplicity in Sneed's dynamic watercolors, while the mastodons are seen from dramatic angles that exaggerate their awesome bulk, and the People have an innocent nobility. A handsome book; a fascinating echo of the past. (Folklore/Picture book. 4-10) Read full book review >