THE FISHERMAN AND HIS WIFE by The Brothers Grimm
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THE FISHERMAN AND HIS WIFE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

That old parable, The Fisherman and His Wife, by the Brothers Grimm, which exemplifies the evils of Pride and Greed, is reissued as a small book. Notable as a departure from orthodoxy in illustrative format, this, like Sparkle and Spin, the new book by the Rands, represents the infiltration of abstraction, the use of symbolism and reliance on linear contours, in children's books. In line, on lilac, white and green grounds, the drawings, by Madeleine Gekiere, who illustrated Who Gave Us . . . ? and Switch on the Night, has embodied the sordidness of the greedy wife and the power of the God-symbol most effectively. The seas in which the infuriated fish-prince repudiates the greedy wife and her demands, are a masterful expression of Apocryphal justice. But in so concentrating, the artist has neglected entirely many of the gentler and potentially beautiful elements of the story, which have equal claim to her attention. She gives us not an enchanted fish-prince -- but a lowly and literal flounder. The fisherman, the courtiers and the palace of the wife's desire are depicted with a Babylonian or Assyrian influence which conveys awe, which evokes power and satisfies intellectually. It is a daring type of illustration -- even for children living in homes which are conceived today as masses and lines, voids and solids. Color-wise the illustrations are more significant than beautiful. In toto, the illustrative appeal speaks more to the mind than to the heart or to the eye. The story itself has endless appeal for childhood.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1957
Publisher: Pantheon