WHEN THE ROOT CHILDREN WAKE UP by Audrey Wood

WHEN THE ROOT CHILDREN WAKE UP

adapted by , illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8

KIRKUS REVIEW

Wood (A Cowboy Christmas, 2001, etc.) has retold—and refashioned—a century-old German tale into an engaging, romantic story of the seasons. Mother Earth awakes the Root Children and gathers bits of rainbow for them to make their colorful clothes. The children then wake the bugs and paint them in jewel colors. Aunt Spring welcomes the children in their bright and sweet-scented finery, and when she returns to her bed of ferns and lilies, Cousin Summer enters the scene. Soon, though, studious Uncle Fall arrives, and Mother Earth gathers the Root Children, who leave their brightly colored garments behind. The “masquerade” is over, and the Root Children are tucked in once again for the winter. Bittinger’s (The Rocking Horse Christmas, 1997, etc.) rich oils show a multicultural group of Root Children, who gambol and play in fields, woods, and gardens in the sumptuous colors of forest and meadow. The original, published in German in 1906 by Sibylle von Olfers, was in verse; an early English translation is much more didactic and wordy. In both, the boy Root Children do the painting, the girl Root Children make the clothing, and they come to the earth to do their job, which is to become a profusion of plants, flowers, and grasses. Wood’s tale changes the Root Children’s activities from work to play—not a bad thing, but a definite difference. This can be enjoyed with no knowledge or reference to the earlier tale, of course, and is quite charming in word and image. A song, “Root Children Sleep,” completes the package. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-590-42517-X
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2002




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