OSCAR WILDE'S THE SELFISH GIANT

PLB 0-375-90319-4 Waters’s retelling of this tale feels overly precious and disjointed, with the figure of the Christ child made curiously heavy by its artless inclusion. As those familiar with the story know, the giant is a big lout who returns to his paradisiacal garden after an extended absence to find it overrun with children having the time of their lives. He can’t stand their noise, so he boots them out and builds a wall. Spring comes to the garden late that year, and only arrives in the company of the children, plus one special child. That child brings with him the warmth of the sun and the joys of the season, and for that the giant is grateful; he is woebegone when that child, of all the children, does not return to the grounds—at least not until it is time for the giant to ascend into the child’s garden, Paradise. Negrin’s stylized paintings, with elaborate fabrics, elongated forms, and sculptured landscapes, are studied but arresting. They are unhampered by the stiff storytelling, which never makes clear the giant’s change of heart: from walling the children out to missing their laughter. (Picture book. 6-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-375-80319-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

Categories:

THE LEGEND OF THE LADY SLIPPER

AN OJIBWE TALE

Lunge-Larsen and Preus debut with this story of a flower that blooms for the first time to commemorate the uncommon courage of a girl who saves her people from illness. The girl, an Ojibwe of the northern woodlands, knows she must journey to the next village to get the healing herb, mash-ki- ki, for her people, who have all fallen ill. After lining her moccasins with rabbit fur, she braves a raging snowstorm and crosses a dark frozen lake to reach the village. Then, rather than wait for morning, she sets out for home while the villagers sleep. When she loses her moccasins in the deep snow, her bare feet are cut by icy shards, and bleed with every step until she reaches her home. The next spring beautiful lady slippers bloom from the place where her moccasins were lost, and from every spot her injured feet touched. Drawing on Ojibwe sources, the authors of this fluid retelling have peppered the tale with native words and have used traditional elements, e.g., giving voice to the forces of nature. The accompanying watercolors, with flowing lines, jewel tones, and decorative motifs, give stately credence to the story’s iconic aspects. (Picture book/folklore. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-90512-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

Categories:

OWEN FOOTE, MONEY MAN

In his quest for easy moolah, Owen learns that the road to financial solvency can be rocky and fraught with work. Greene (Owen Foote, Soccer Star, 1998, etc.) touches upon the often-thorny issue of chores and allowances: Owen’s mom wants him to help out because he’s part of the family and not just for the money—while Owen wants the money without having to do tedious household chores. This universal dilemma leaves Owen without funds and eagerly searching for ways to make a quick buck. His madcap schemes range from original—a “free” toilet demonstration that costs 50 cents—to disastrous, as during the trial run of his children’s fishing video, Owen ends up hooking his ear instead of a trout. Enlisting the aid of his stalwart, if long-suffering, friend Joseph, the two form a dog-walking club that becomes vastly restricted in clientele after Owen has a close encounter with an incontinent, octogenarian canine. Ultimately, Owen learns a valuable lesson about work and money when an unselfish action is generously rewarded. These sudden riches motivate Owen to consider wiser investments for his money than plastic vomit. Greene’s crisp writing style and wry humor is on-target for young readers. Brief chapters revolving around a significant event or action and fast pacing are an effective draw for tentative readers. Weston’s (Space Guys!, p. 392, etc.) black-and-white illustrations, ranging in size from quarter- to full-page, deftly portray Owen’s humorous escapades. A wise, witty addition to Greene’s successful series. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2000

ISBN: 0-618-02369-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

Categories:
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