POLLY VAUGHN by Barry--Adapt. & Illus. Moser


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As he did with Andersen's The Tinderbox (1990), Moser transplants a traditional British ballad with interesting parallels to Romeo and Juliet to Appalachia, a likely enough setting for the tragedy of a young man who, mistaking his beloved for a deer, shoots her and then is hanged for murder. The transformation from song to story is less satisfactory: though Moser's narrative reads smoothly, it runs to rather prosaic explanations, whereas a ballad's power is derived from leaving all but the essentials to the imagination. The book is handsomely designed, including one of Moser's compelling portraits or set pieces on each double spread (but not the original ballad, about which readers are sure to be curious). It's not necessarily an anti-hunting story, but it does raise the issue; certainly it's a love story with appeal for older children and possibly teenagers. A mostly successful attempt to clothe a classic tale in new attire.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1992
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: "Little, Brown"