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Eric Jon Nones

Age Range: 4 - 10

Pub Date: June 28th, 1991
ISBN: 0-374-31029-7
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

 In a courtly Italian tale (a folk tale, according to the jacket), a princess imprisoned at the wish of her wicked stepmother is visited by a prince whom she is able to turn into a canary so that he can fly to her tower, where he again becomes a man. After the stepmother contrives to wound him, the princess climbs out, disguises herself, visits his father's palace, and cures the prince. The story is retold with intelligence and grace, though with no particular narrative flair. Nones's watercolor illustrations, setting the tale in the Renaissance, are meticulously executed: draperies have stately folds; designs are planned creatively, details (fabrics, borders, architectural elements) are lovingly rendered; classical faces express appropriate emotion. Unfortunately, the whole is more like a series of elegant tableaux than a living drama; static compositions and muted golden tones seem to have congealed the story in amber--resulting in a handsome book, wrought with unusual skill, that still lacks the breath of life. It also lacks a source note. (Folklore/Picture book. 4-10)