After the fashion of treasure (both real and fabled), the pure gold here is behind a barrier. The book was submitted to two readings for review and the agreement was that any reader who can get past the first few, rather off-putting, pages, reaches a treasure trove indeed. The tale has everything-- an enchanted and; a special language; a lovely orphan girl of strange and foreign aspect; a prince whom she loves; a cranky, spunky witch; a greedy, villainous giant who oars out hair-curling songs; abduction, rescue, and true love rewarded-- all emerging from magic, and touched with the magic of good story telling. The story-teller and the listener are really treated to words, "That perpetual, ternal, ever-lasting, unremitting, undeviating, and unmitigated blue-eyed look becomes monotonous. Downright monotonous". The importance of being different and the daftness of being a money-grubber are here at a deeper level, but this is not to suggest that any moralizing breaks the web of the tale. It is arranged in chapters that are strong enough to survive and even gain from serial reading. The color illustrations are crystal clear, and the line drawings are just as eye-catching. Everything and everyone looks exactly as they should. Undiluted fantasy-- unmatched, lately.