THE OLD MAN AND HIS BIRDS by Mirra -- Adapt. Ginsburg


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From Ginsburg (The King Who Tried to Fry an Egg on His Head, p. 479, etc.) comes this folk riddle told in a spare, almost laconic, style. A mysterious old codger shakes three birds from his sleeve and thereby changes the seasons, an event reflected not only in the surrounding land but also in the color of the old man's voluminous robes. Shake a sleeve, and the birds bring a cold, white winter; another shake, and it is the prime of the year; shake it again, and the birds herald the good old summertime; once more, and the leaves begin to fall. The riddle lies in the birds, whose forms convey a message, and it brings a much needed sense of fun to the old man, who is not so much Olympian as just plain remote. The story projects little warmth and little to identify with, and Ruffs pastel illustrations are too subdued to dazzle or charm the viewer. Something must have been lost in the adaptation. What works here is the riddle; once that's solved there isn't much enticement to dip into these pages again.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
Page count: 24pp
Publisher: Greenwillow