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A Swedish Folktale

adapted by Jane Langton & illustrated by Ilse Plume

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1994
ISBN: 0-7868-0011-9
Publisher: Hyperion

Langton and Plume (Salt, 1992) pair up again to tell the story of black-hearted King Hendrik and his most precious possession, a necklace of 100 perfect pearls. Hendrik sends his nephew, Nils, to find him a wife, and Nils brings back kind, beautiful Blanzeflor. On their wedding day, the king fastens the pearls around Blanzeflor's neck and warns, "The day I find you without them will be your last." Blanzeflor's only happiness comes from feeding the birds. And, one pearl at a time, she gives away her necklace to the needy villagers. When the king discovers the necklace missing, he sentences her to death. On the morning of the execution, however, Blanzeflor's feathered friends come to her cell, rescue her, and tear the wicked king to pieces, releasing the villagers from his tyranny and freeing Blanzeflor to marry her true love, Nils. The colorful illustrations -- depicting Blanzeflor as hearty and healthy -- are a welcome respite from the Barbie-doll thin Cinderellas of modern fairy tales. A well-told tale of an activist heroine. (Folklore/Picture book. 5-8)