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THE GOLDEN MARE, THE FIREBIRD, AND THE MAGIC RING by Ruth Sanderson

THE GOLDEN MARE, THE FIREBIRD, AND THE MAGIC RING

By Ruth Sanderson (Author) , Ruth Sanderson (Illustrator)

Age Range: 8 - 11

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-316-76906-1
Publisher: Little, Brown

Sanderson has combined motifs from several Russian fairytales and illustrated them with sumptuous oils likewise full of Russian themes, splendid colors and textures, and wonderful figures that might be portraits in their verisimilitude. Alexi is looking for work—and for adventure—when he finds a golden mare with a silver mane that speaks to him, and he spares her life. The horse takes him to the Tsar, who accepts Alexi into his service but resents that the golden mare will have no other rider. When Alexi finds a bright gold feather in the forest, the mare insists it will bring him danger, but he ignores that and presents the feather to the Tsar. He, of course, wants the whole firebird, so off go Alexi and the mare to capture and cage it. The Tsar sends Alexi to fetch the beautiful Yelena, too, and she comes but doesn’t wish to marry the Tsar. Alexi once again is sent on a dangerous mission, to retrieve Yelena’s grandmother’s magic wedding ring. The ring, a bit of magic, and a Tsar who gets what he wished for but not in the way he expects bring the story to “happy ever after” and freedom for both the golden mare and the firebird. Architecture, forest and river vistas, rich interiors, and the fabulous orange-gold firebird are brilliantly painted, and despite some strain in the plot, the story holds together well. (Picture book/folktale. 8-11)