THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN by Robert Holden

THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN

adapted by , illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 12

KIRKUS REVIEW

Developing the theme that there was no particular difference between the rats of Hamelin and its greedy, ungrateful populace, Zak draws both with beady eyes, snaggle teeth, and disagreeable sagging bodies. Placed against backgrounds filled with elaborate medieval architectural details, humans hop and scuttle among crowds of bustling rats, and leer at the slender, dignified piper; the artist depicts a burgher’s climactic transformation into a huge, particularly hideous rat in an awkward, confusing way, and to no apparent purpose leaves random parts of scenes and figures as uncolored outlines. Providing ample proof that he’s no Robert Browning, Holden not only subordinates meaning to meter—“The crowd grew angry, the crowd got mad,/they vowed they would give up all that they had”—but can’t hold to a consistent rhyme scheme either; furthermore, the plot is pared to the point of sketchiness. As an illustrator of the grotesque, Zak has great facility, but this rendition is not for readers unfamiliar with more traditional versions. (Picture book/folklore. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-395-89918-4
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1998