Where Diamond's text departs from other versions, it moves away from the concrete and toward the banal--but, if her word-choice dilutes, the differences are small. It is her black-and-white pictures, all ethereal mist and mannered posture, that are totally out of touch with the story. Diamond's idealized parents retain their tender youth even after their eighth child is old enough to go off to save her brothers (to be sure, all eight children remain pudgy cherubs in the same pictures), but that is only a token of the general swooning romanticism. On a page where the little girl meets the sun ("". . . hot and terrible; it devoured children""), the moon (""I smell human flesh,"" says the moon), and the kindly stars (each one sitting ""on its own special chair""), Diamond turns her back on this mine of images for a view of the little girl stretching her arms to the soft and tissuey heavens. This strange, compact tale might challenge any illustrator, but Felix Hoffman faced up to its undertones; Diamond simply goes her own vapid, vaporous way.