Shepard (The Gifts of Wall Dad, 1995, etc.) tells a familiar type of tale in which a headstrong young man blunders into the...

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MASTER MAID: A Tale of Norway

Shepard (The Gifts of Wall Dad, 1995, etc.) tells a familiar type of tale in which a headstrong young man blunders into the stronghold of an ogre, falls in love with the beautiful servant he finds hidden away there, and performs impossible tasks with the help of the brave and clever maiden, with whom he finally escapes. It's the details of the tasks and the dangers encountered that make these stories interesting: The hero, Leif, must muck out the troll's stable with a pitchfork that makes ten forkfuls of dung fly in for every one he pitches out, bridle the troll's fire-breathing stallion, and extract taxes from the fairies without being buried alive in gold and gems. As Leif and Master Maid flee, she contrives to put a forest, a mountain, and an ocean between them and the pursuing troll, and the troll counters by calling upon the Forest Chewer, the Mountain Cruncher, and the Water Sucker. Ellison's finely textured watercolors are a mixture of the homely (sod roofs, shaggy goats, copper pots, cabbages, gooseberries) and the fantastic, all suffused with an old-fashioned, golden fairy-tale glow.

Pub Date: July 1, 1997

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1997