THE OUTSPOKEN PRINCESS AND THE GENTLE KNIGHT

TIMELY FAIRY TALES FOR TUMULTUOUS TIMES

A not all that timely collection of fairy tales from editor Zipes (Victorian Fairy Tales, 1987, etc.), written between 1951 and 1992, the bulk of which are unsuccessful Thurber-like attempts. Written in the '70s, they are often didactic feminist reversals of traditional tales. It is, however, the stories that are neither ironic nor mocking that are the most effective. Richard Kennedy's ``The Dark Princess'' examines true love in the tragic account of a blindingly beautiful and blind princess who demands that her suitors prove their love by giving up their own sight. Although they all declare their love for her, not one is willing to pass her test. Only the court fool, who cannot even gain the princess's hand by his act, gazes at the princess without his protective colored glass. Jane Yolen's ``The Seal Maid'' is the sad story of a selchie, a seal woman, who leaves the water to marry. Although she loves her human husband, she must eventually return with their seven sons to the sea. A.S. Byatt, in the metafictional ``The Story of the Eldest Princess,'' looks at the fairy tale itself and asks if predetermined plots can be ignored. A few worthwhile contributions in a generally worthless book. (Book-of-the-Month Club/Quality Paperback Book Club alternate selections) (Stories/Fiction. All ages)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 1994

ISBN: 0-553-09699-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Bantam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1994

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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THE NAME JAR

Unhei has just left her Korean homeland and come to America with her parents. As she rides the school bus toward her first day of school, she remembers the farewell at the airport in Korea and examines the treasured gift her grandmother gave her: a small red pouch containing a wooden block on which Unhei’s name is carved. Unhei is ashamed when the children on the bus find her name difficult to pronounce and ridicule it. Lesson learned, she declines to tell her name to anyone else and instead offers, “Um, I haven’t picked one yet. But I’ll let you know next week.” Her classmates write suggested names on slips of paper and place them in a jar. One student, Joey, takes a particular liking to Unhei and sees the beauty in her special stamp. When the day arrives for Unhei to announce her chosen name, she discovers how much Joey has helped. Choi (Earthquake, see below, etc.) draws from her own experience, interweaving several issues into this touching account and delicately addressing the challenges of assimilation. The paintings are done in creamy, earth-tone oils and augment the story nicely. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 10, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80613-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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