THE TWELVE MONTHS by Aliki--Adapt.


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A poor, good-hearted woman is unexpectedly rewarded; a rich, mean-spirited one, trying the same approach, is punished--but this Greek folktale is lifted above the common run of its kind by two felicitous plot-motifs. The poor widow who bakes bread for her rich neighbor, and then is not paid, goes home with enough dough on her hands to make her children a soup that nourishes them for a week. But even as they thrive, the rich neighbor's overfed children grow thin and weak. ""The widow carries away their good fortune with the dough on her hands,"" the rich neighbor is advised--with the result that the widow is forced to wash her hands. . . and now what will her children eat? Walking, grief-stricken, she comes upon twelve men gathered in a tent: ""Three of the men had their shirt collars unbuttoned, and in their hands held fresh grasses and blossoms. Three had their sleeves rolled up. . . ."" They are, one quickly recognizes, the personification of the four seasons--about each of which the widow, questioned, has something good to say. For her cheerfulness, she bears away a jar of gold pieces, while the rich neighbor, following after, gets a jar of snakes for her complaints--but it is not the just outcome so much as the way it's arrived at that makes this memorable. It would have been more so, however, had the pictures--black-and-white pen drawings--been colored to reflect the changing moods and succeeding seasons.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1979
Publisher: Greenwillow