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PEGASUS by Marianna Mayer


adapted by Marianna Mayer & illustrated by K.Y. Kraft

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-688-13382-7
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

PLB 0-688-13383-5 In the heightened language and measured cadence of a classic hero’s tale, Mayer (Turandot, 1995, etc.) relates the story of the winged horse Pegasus and the brave Bellerophon. The fair young man is sent to subdue the monster Chimera, who devours people and lays waste to the lands. He learns he can only hope to defeat the monster if he can convince the magical flying horse to carry him into battle. Bellerophon meets Pegasus at a sacred spring, and the goddess Athena reminds him in a dream that the bridle of trust will hold him and his steed together as equals. Defeating the Chimera in a wild battle, he marries a princess and rules with her, but seeks Pegasus throughout his life. Craft’s oil on watercolor paintings are splendid foils for this text. She uses chiaroscuro to powerful effect, and every detail of her work—the flowers by a spring, a red cloak unfurled against a blue sky, moonlight on a tiger’s back—is beautifully rendered. She provides echoes of well-known paintings in her illustrations, and each has a border of motifs taken from ancient goldwork. Pegasus is a true vision—Craft revivifies the now-debased winged-horse image—and the Chimera is quite terrifying. Children hungry for heroes will find this robust fare for their imaginations. (Picture book/folklore. 6-9)