THE BANSHEE by Karen Ackerman


Email this review


In Irish folklore, a banshee is a spirit, a wailing woman who warns of an impending death. Here, death is not mentioned; the banshee sings her sad song at various doors and windows, but in each case a loving caress--parent to child, man to wife, even blacksmith to cat--turns the banshee away. Ackerman, whose Song and Dance Man won the 1989 Caldecott, tells her story poetically, but it seems like a muddled--even feeble--use of a powerful folkloric symbol; perhaps an author's note could have justified it for the reader. In his promising debut, Ray uses sculptural forms and a strong sense of design to evoke the story's contrast between nighttime fears and the security of home--though his banshee looks a bit too much like solid ice to be a convincing spirit. A mixed effort.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1990
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Philomel/Putnam