A WAGONLOAD OF FISH by Judit Z.--Adapt. & Trans. Bodnr

A WAGONLOAD OF FISH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Based on an episode in a longer Hungarian story, Bodnr's debut work has the robust humor of a true folktale. An author's note places the tale, which has echoes of both ""The Fisherman and His Wife"" and ""Mr. and Mrs. Vinegar."" An old couple has plenty of food, but the crabby wife nags her husband through the winter months to get her some fish. In mid-June he goes off to fish, and soon has a wagonload, most of which he promptly loses to a clever fox. At home, his wife pronounces him lazy, but the old man hardly notices; he is busy contemplating a trip to Lapland to get reindeer meat (a journey that would keep him away from home for a good, long time). The language of the retelling is delightfully traditional (""Once there was, or once there wasn't""), with some less-familiar words (pullets and sows rather than chickens and pigs) and phrases to make each character distinct (the fox holds himself as still as a ""fallen sapling""). Employing rustic colors and unusual perspectives, Natchev presents his peasant with wonderfully bushy moustache and eyebrows and a scowling, babushka-covered wife. A lark for readers and listeners alike.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1996
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Lothrop