Handsome, powerful illustrations compensate for Lewis' sometimes uneven retelling of this traditional folk tale. Gentle Rose lives with her stepmother and stepsister (also named Rose) near a great forest. Sent to pick an unusual flower for her disagreeable stepsister, Rose meets, falls in love with, and marries a handsome young prince. When her stepmother discovers Rose's good fortune, she plots to put her own daughter in her place: she pushes the gentle Rose into a deep well, and pretends great grief. But she does not see the white bird that flies out of the well to comfort the heartbroken prince. With the help of Rose's cat, the prince, through a series of magical transformations, brings his beloved back to life. The wicked stepmother and Stepsister flee, never to be seen again. Although the jacket notes explain that this is a retelling of an ancient Chines folk-tale, this source is not reflected in either text or illustrations. Reed's somber, stylized paintings are darkly romantic; and the occasionally cute literary asides in the text do not harmonize with the almost majestic stateliness of the illustrations.