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After a crow is tricked by a lazy weasel, she finds that she can deal with him all by herself even though she is very small. Includes a glossary of Italian words used.
Posted November 30, 2002
IN the rolling Tuscan countryside a piccola crow goes into business with a wily weasel. And therein begins the story of Andiamo, Weasel! by Rose Marie Grant and illustrated by Jon Goodell, ($15.95 Alfred A. Knopf.) THIS charmingly illustrated children¿s book is perfect for youngsters of all ages, meaning the grown-ups who read it to the children will enjoy the tale and the telling as much as the little ones. Grown ups reading aloud may even break in to the song ¿Funiculi, funicula!¿ more than once! YOUNGSTERS accustomed to hearing parents and grandparents split their speech with words from the old country will feel right at home in this fable. Consider that all the speaking parts in this fable belong to the animals, and they all live in Italy, of course, they¿ll sprinkle their exchanges with a bit of Italian. (Won¿t the grown ups delight in translating for the little ones!) EVEN the rooster, who only has one word says it in Italian, ¿Chicchirichi!¿ Frankly, we¿ve never heard a rooster crow in another language, but if they did, we¿re sure this is how they¿d sound in Italian. (It¿s that willing-suspension-of-disbelief-thing, we ARE talking about a fable here!) But the best part of that rooster¿s cameo word is hearing Mom or Dad or a grandparent bringing the word to life, or life to the word and lighting up a child¿s face. AS the glossary at end of Andiamo, Weasel! explains, piccola is small. So the crow is small and needs the help of the weasel, who ends up being prodded by the title (Andiamo, Weasel!) and rarely succumbs to work after the corn crop is sown while they merrily sing ¿Funiculi, funicula!¿ THIS fable works on many levels, one of which for the children reading it is to learn that hard work will be rewarded, and that even though they might be small, or piccola, they probably are much stronger than they realize and should stand up for what¿s right. AS interesting and fun as is the story, I could see reading this aloud and pausing to point out the rich detail capturing the Tuscan farm country. The piccolo crow wears a flower in her straw hat; the weasel wears a neckerchief (as if he could just as easily hold up the next stage coach!) that he later wears around his broken leg when there is work to be done. In the menacing rain corn husks like vipers whirl in the wind under dark clouds. THE piccola crow enlists the help of a wolf to frighten the weasel into doing the right thing. The wolf could have been drawn to be more scary and imposing a figure ¿ but let¿s not upset the friends of the wolves in the world. And the tenor frightened off the bandstand by the piccolo crow ¿ why was he a fat, balding man with a handlebar mustache? Ooh fah! BUT these minor points are no reason that you shouldn¿t run out now and buy a copy of Andiamo, Weasel! for every tot you know, from 1 to 101 years old. It¿s the stuff of which memories are made.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.