THE MAGIC TREE by Gerald McDermott


A Tale From The Congo
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Like the similarly spectacular Anansi the Spider (p. 576, J-184), this is adapted from an animated film and it's difficult not to hear the pulsing jazz music that seems to be visualized on these dynamic, semi-abstract pages, which are distinctly African in patterns and motifs but just as distinctly cinematic in their vibrant color and kinetic energy. McDermott projects in highly stylized figures and succinctly few words the story of a rejected twin who, by pulling off some leaves, accidentally releases several people including a princess from imprisonment in the magic tree. The princess makes him rich and handsome on the condition that he tell no one the source of his good fortune, and they live together happily until, on a visit to his unloving mother, he forgets his vow and tells her his story. In the end it's a purely visual experience, with Mavunga suddenly remembering his promise, rushing back to his home with the princess, and finding only an empty clearing. A dayglo stunner for the jaded eye.
Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1972
ISBN: 0805030808
Page count: 42pp
Publisher: Holt Rinehart & Winston
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1972


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