HECKEDY PEG by Audrey Wood


Email this review


An original fairy tale containing traditional elements and illustrated in the same style as the author-artist team's ebullient, Caldecott Honor-winning King Bidgood's in the Bathtub. A poor mother has seven children, shown as mischievious but helpful. She goes to market, promising gifts, warning against strangers and fire. The inevitable intruder is a witch (Heckedy Peg) who offers gold in return for a light for her pipe; the children not only succumb, but are seen cavorting with lighted straw. The witch turns them into food; he mother, following, reclaims them by matching her gifts to their new forms: bread with butter, salt with fish, etc. The witch is chased, leaps off the bridge, and "". . .was never seen again"" (American children know what water does to witches). Pictured in a medieval setting, this sturdy, forthright tale is distinguished by skillfully designed and executed illustrations, painted in oils. The lively children and vibrant humor are reminiscent of Frans Hals; the witch is truly fearsome; the transformed children are surprised into ghostly evanescence, while the viands they become are unpleasantly solid. The mother is an indomitable saviour. Admirable, yet, for all its proficiency, almost stolid--perhaps a little less definition would leave more room for the imagination.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1987
ISBN: 0152336788
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich