A humorous cautionary tale of greed, wishes and hope.
In Pokey Marsh, a “rotten-to-the-core witch” snatches a silver coin from a wise cypress and promptly loses it. Gator best friends Scarlett Starlett and Simon Greensnout happen to discover the shiny object. Each time the tree finds its coin in the hands of another, it intones, “Give me back my silver dollar and I will give you something that lasts forever….What lasts forever?” Each character chooses to keep the coin instead of what it thinks lasts forever. What ensues is a series of silly yet unfortunate events. Simon gets turned into a donkey, while Scarlett becomes a famous singer cursed with a spell that keeps her from finding anything. Most distressing is that Simon and Scarlett are no longer together. Thanks to the witch’s convenient fit of frustration, Scarlett finds herself in possession of the coin. In a scene reminiscent of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Scarlett wishes Simon were with her, and he magically turns back into an alligator. A traditional happy-ever-after follows, and readers will already have guessed what lasts forever. Primavera’s tale reads like a modernized folk tale, and Park ably captures every emotion in her watercolor-and-ink illustrations. Due to the lengthy series of plot twists, this title is best suited for an older audience.
Amusing, but probably not one children will ask for more than once. (Picture book. 5-8)