THE ENCHANTED TAPESTRY by Robert D.--Adapt. San Souci


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Here, a hybridization of several versions of a Chinese folk tale that relies more on quiet effects than the usual folk-tale picture book, and is the stronger for it. San Souci's text retains the pared-down quality of the versions of folk tales most familiar to American readers: the sentences are generally declarative and reveal without irony or understatement the story of an old woman who weaves the finest tapestry of her career when she chooses to weave for beauty instead of commerce. Family strife and discord occur, when two of her three dependent sons beg her to sell the masterpiece, but a mighty wind tears the cloth from its loom and sends it flying out of sight. All three sons attempt to find it; the first two fall prey to a sorceress' offer of gold, but the third overcomes the obstacles. In retrieving his mother's masterpiece, he comes upon a beautiful fairy, who ingeniously insinuates herself into his life in a happy-ever-after ending with a particularly charming twist. Gal's use of ochres, salmons, olive greens and smoked whites re-creates the emotional quality of Chinese drawing; his three-dimensional modelling lends drama to his characterizations. And the delicate overlays of color, stroke and stipple, wash and line, evoke the technique and form in tapestry work. Author and artist are well paired here; children should be enchanted.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1987
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Dial/Dutton