Deft storytelling combines with workmanlike pictures, making this picture book a useful, if not crucial, selection. Huck...

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TOADS AND DIAMONDS

Deft storytelling combines with workmanlike pictures, making this picture book a useful, if not crucial, selection. Huck describes the many sources of this folktale, drawing particularly from Perrault's ""The Fairies."" In this version, a widow and her natural daughter, Francine, make life miserable for the kind and charitable Ren‚e, the woman's stepdaughter. Ren‚e's disposition elicits the magical gift of having flowers and jewels cascade from her mouth as she speaks. When the horrid Francine tries for the same, she ends up displaying the results preceded by the quite wonderful line, ""You are not going to like it, Mother,"" as snakes and toads pour from her rude mouth. The language and rhythms are lovely to read aloud; Huck (as she explains in an author's note) attempts to make Ren‚e resourceful instead of a stereotypically helpless female, although Ren‚e's career goals are confined to a dream, and her destiny is a wedding. The drawings are uneven; the compositions are ordinary; and the people loom largely and then shrink out of proportion. The features of the faces shift from scene to scene, although the glorious stylized vegetation is sure to elicit admiration.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996