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A TALE OF TWO BROTHERS by Eveline Hasler


by Eveline Hasler & illustrated by Käthi Bhend & translated by Marianne Martens

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-7358-2102-X
Publisher: NorthSouth

In this version of a common (though here unacknowledged) folktale type, two hunchbacked brothers get their just deserts. After his kindness to woodland creatures and spirits, Morris returns from an errand into the autumn mountains without a hump. His ill-natured brother Boris eagerly sets out with the same expectations. Noting that “what goes around, comes around,” Hasler rewards Boris’s careless, rude, destructive behavior not with a straight back, but with a second hump—whereupon Boris recognizes the error of his ways, and resolves to make amends in the spring. Alternating color spreads with black and white, Bhend creates complex, wonderfully animistic landscapes, filled with both accurately rendered natural details, and hidden faces and forms woven into the underbrush. Though Boris’s remorse makes the lesson unnecessarily explicit, the pictures add a properly mysterious air to an otherwise well-told rendition. Shelve it next to Charlotte Huck’s Toads and Diamonds (1996), illustrated by Anita Lobel, and Robert San Souci’s Talking Eggs (1989), illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. (Picture book/folktale. 7-9)