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GILLY MARTIN THE FOX by Mollie Hunter

GILLY MARTIN THE FOX

By Mollie Hunter (Adaptor) , Dennis McDermott (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 10

Pub Date: April 28th, 1994
ISBN: 1-56282-517-8
Publisher: Hyperion

 As Hunter notes, this is ``a much-condensed but nevertheless faithful retelling'' of a Scottish Highland tale, recorded in Gaelic and published in English in 1860. It's the Prince of Alban's good luck that the shape-changer fox likes nothing better than ``poking his sharp nose into other people's affairs''; the prince, under a witch's spell, has been sent on an impossible quest, and even if he succeeds he expects to be put to ``a terrible death.'' Fortunately, Gilly Martin goes along with the prince to offer advice each time a goal eludes his grasp and he must undertake yet another trial. A five-headed giant, the Seven Big Women of Jura, and the King of Erin are among those who must be tricked; on the return journey (with Gilly Martin becoming a boat), the prince collects a princess and the several magical treasures he sought. Hunter's narration is tangy and swift, though the tale is so richly eventful that one wonders what lore and language have been omitted to satisfy the contemporary craving for brevity. McDermott's bright, tidily outlined illustrations strike a nice balance between popular appeal and an appropriately medieval flavor. A lively and attractive offering. (Folklore/Picture book. 5-10)