MOSS GOWN by William H. Hooks


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A folk tale evocative of the Old South, with striking illustrations. Lear-like, Candace's father decides to divide his land among his three daughters, according to the degree of their love for him. The two older sisters flatter and fawn on the old man: but Candace is banished from her plantation home, though she loves her father dearly, when she tells him she loves him ""as meat loves salt."" In a nearby swamp, she meets a gris-gris (magic) woman, who gives her a shimmering gown, warning that its beauty will last only till the morning star shines, when the dress will turn back into moss. Candace finds her way to a nearby mansion, where she works as a scullery maid. Cinderella-like in her magic moss gown, she attends a ball and wins the heart of the Young Master of the household. They soon wed, and her father, who has been abandoned by his older daughters, wanders into the wedding. In a final twist, Candace convinces her father that she truly loves him. This dreamy tale reflects the mystery and romance of its Tidewater North Care. lina setting in the long-ago South. Slavery is not mentioned per se, but the illustrations show blacks and whites in typical roles. Both are portrayed with dignity, especially the majestic gris-gris woman. The book is beautifully designed: blocks of text are effectively set off by a narrow decorative border, either facing a full-page illustration or superimposed on a double-page spread. The artist uses delicate line and rich watercolor hues to create the haunting mood. Notes on the story's origin are included.

Pub Date: April 20th, 1987
ISBN: 0395547938
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Clarion/Houghton Mifflin