THE DEVIL'S STORYBOOK by Natalie Babbitt
Kirkus Star


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Taking her cue from the Robert Southey quote with which she introduces her ten stories, Natalie Babbitt eschews fire and brimstone and dramatic villainy to portray a petty, proprietary sort of devil, often conniving but frequently outsmarted (even a goat named Walpurgis almost gets the best of him), with a very middle class concern for his image. Like the con man who scores by appealing to his victims' greed, Babbitt's devil has no power over the pure in heart -- but he does finally get even with an irritatingly perfect little girl named Angela who thrives on adversity as it gives her a chance to demonstrate her "Perfection." Among those who foil or escape him here are a sentimental minor demon enamored of roses, a kindly clergyman who finds an imp on his doorstep, a "Very Pretty Lady" (in the weakest story) who chooses love over beauty, and, in "Palindrome," an artist who changes from a good man who paints evil pictures to an ill-tempered man who makes heavenly statues. Natalie Babbitt's traditional themes abound in elegant twists, and she polishes even the straightest to a pleasing, most un-Angelic perfection.
Pub Date: June 26th, 1974
ISBN: 0374417083
Page count: 50pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1974


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