PIERINO AND THE BELL by Sylvia Cassedy


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The well-known and widely admired illustrations of Evaline Ness fail to save a manufactured story of old Tuscany. The author employs two conventions more common to opera and ballet than to present day storytelling for children: the peasants are addicted to acting in concert (laughing, dancing, hurrahing) and Pierino bursts into odd lyrics at odd moments. The story concerns the festival San Colombino Day on which the pigeons lay eggs with absentminded abandon all over the village square. Pierino, who rings the bell that he thinks summons all the pigeons to daily flight, finds a silver colored egg at the festival and, as is the custom with the children, takes it to hatch. Instead of releasing the resultant silver fledgling, he caged it. Next S.C. Day he released the silver pigeon. All the birds wheeled in pursuit of the freed silver bird. It looked as if it were all up for the pigeon egg collection until Pierino rang the bell. The birds flew back and laid eggs like crazy. They all turned out to be silver--""one thousand silver eggs in all."" As usual, Miss Ness provides stunning illustrations. The silver pigeon's performance is stunning, too, considering he accomplished it all in one morning.

Pub Date: Aug. 19th, 1966
Publisher: Doubleday