If you give an imp a penny, he’ll ask for a glass of milk—er, a “coin bag” to go with it.
Shamelessly borrowed from the iconic If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (the authors thank Laura Numeroff in the dedication), this anemic reflection moves the story to a vaguely medieval and magical realm. The imp in question is orange and sort of pointy all over, and his fellow protagonist is a young white girl with long skirts and a snowy white apron. When he gets his penny and buries it in the yard with a borrowed shovel, he makes such a mess that she asks him to clean up. The imp sets the broom on fire, repairs it with straw from her mattress, and makes a collar for the cat—who does not take it, or the subsequent bath, well. But our heroine gives the imp her last apple, and he conjures up some gold coins in gratitude. That makes him think of his buried penny—and probably asking for another one. There’s not a lot of logic here: why would he even ask for a penny if he can conjure up treasure? The pictures have a quality of Disney animation about them, lively and familiar-looking without much verve.
It might be fun once, but Numeroff really holds a corner on this particular market. (Picture book. 5-7)