by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 7
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 The tales of Wilhelm Hauff (18021827)--almost unknown in the U.S.--belong on every child's shelf. Shepard retells ``The Caliph Stork,'' a stylized imitation of the Arabian Nights that has become a part of Middle Eastern folklore. A merchant sells the Calif[sic] of Baghdad a magic snuffbox, which contains a powder that transforms him and his vizier into storks. But the magic word that is to turn them back into humans has no effect, and they find themselves trapped in their new forms. Wandering through the woods, the two storks meet a woodpecker who tells them that she is a princess put under the spell by a sorcerer. When they follow her to the sorcerer's hide-out, they discover that he is none other than the merchant who sold them the snuffbox. They overhear him bragging about his trick, whereupon he reveals the real magic word that will transform them. The Gothic overtones of Hauff's KunstmÑrchen have been removed in Shepard's simplified version (for example, in the original, the storks more tragically forget the magic word), but the story still works. In his first work, Dianov, with rich, ornately three- dimensional watercolors, displays his sensitivity to the oriental charms of the tale, paying as much attention to the details of costume and architecture as to the characters themselves. Everything has a cartoon-like plasticity, or unrealness; his colorful pictures, full of beards, turbans, and minarets, look as if they were made out of candy. (Picture book/folklore. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 24th, 1995
ISBN: 0-395-65377-0
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1995


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