Boots and His Brothers: A Tale from Norway

Boots and His Brothers: A Tale from Norway

by Eric A. Kimmel, Kimberly Bulcken Root

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Readers will recognize a familiar folktale plot as Boots and his two rude brothers set off to seek their fortunes. Boots treats an old woman they meet with kindness--his siblings, of course, behaving roughly toward her--and she gives him advice, which he follows to obtain three magic tools to accomplish three impossible tasks. His brothers inevitably fail at the tasks and have dogs set on them; Boots predictably succeeds. Kimmel's straightforward telling is somewhat short on drama and humor--the author of Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins is not in top form here. Root's deeply shadowed, brooding illustrations, reminiscent of Henrik Drescher in their skewed perspectives and stylization, add welcome theatrics with such scenes as a dynamic jumble of trees felled by an enchanted ax. It is this idiosyncratic artwork that will most engage the reader. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Debra Briatico
In this Norwegian tale, three brothers set off to seek their fortune in the world. The two oldest brothers are rude and rough, but the youngest boy, Boots, is kind. One day the three brothers encounter a beggar woman, who tells them of a king willing to pay a rich reward to anyone who can accomplish three tasks--chop down the giant tree that shades his castle, dig a deep well in the iron mountain, and fill the well with sweet water. Boots, who is kind to the woman, listens carefully to her advice: "Whenever you ask a question, do not rest until you find the answer." On their way to the king's castle, Boots heeds the woman's advice and finds a special ax, spade, and walnut. When they arrive at the castle, the two older brothers try their best at chopping down the tree, but they both fail miserably and are chased off the premises by dogs. Boots uses his three magical objects to accomplish the three tasks and receives a mighty reward.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-- A fairly faithful retelling of a traditional Norwegian tale. When the king offers half of his realm to anyone who can cut down a huge oak tree and make a well near his castle, Boots and his two brothers set out to win their fortunes. Kimmel uses relaxed, descriptive language; he admits to making changes in the tale, as have other notable writers such as Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen and the D'Aulaires. While the alterations don't severely impair the story, they do lessen its impact. The elimination of the role of the princess (whom Boots marries in other versions) and the brothers' now-mild punishments (instead of death or banishment) may make this version palatable to modern sensibilities but at a cost to the primal power of the original. Root's atmospheric pen-and-ink watercolors use dark, saturated colors, in a style similar to that of Winslow Homer, especially in her use of sky to set the mood. Her drawing technique is reminiscent of that used by drypoint printmakers, with thin, lyrical lines defining the contours of each object. The figures are stylized and often depicted in shadow. The illustrations are occasionally small and tend to capture incidental details instead of conveying the broader action of the story. Also, while Root's style is an interesting and accomplished one, it sometimes fails to connect fully with the text. Caveats aside, new life has been given to an important folktale and readers should be intrigued by it.-- Denise Anton Wright, Milner Library, Illinois State University, Normal

Read More

Product Details

Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
8.73(w) x 11.27(h) x 0.33(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >