The inimitable Zwerger ('Twas the Night Before Christmas) and experienced translator Bell transform what in other hands has come off as a silly story into a captivating tale about the unwitting triumph of four aged animals who join together to create a band, foil a gang of robbers, and end up finding themselves a home. Zwerger's illustrations convey both poignancy and sly humor. A full-page, skillful portrait introduces each animal character, while at the top, spot art depicts their plights. The weariness of each elderly creature is plaintive, and Zwerger makes clear visually how the robbers might mistake the animals sitting atop each other for a monster. However, at the most dramatic moment of the story, when one of the robbers returns to the house to confront the sleepy animals inside, Zwerger leaves the details to readers' imaginations, using only shadowy gray figures to portray the literal action that occurs. Unlike Ilse Plume's sunny interpretation, this new version of the Grimm story focuses on how the four old creatures, despite their Quixote-like quest to become musicians, end up finding contentment anyway. Bell's translation adheres closely and gracefully to the original, and the theme of what might happen to those who outlive their usefulness ends on an enchanting, happy note. Ages 4-up. (Mar.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
The Bremen Town Musiciansby Brothers Grimm, Jacob Grimm, Bernadette Watts, Wilhelm Grimm
In this classic tale by the Brothers Grimm, a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a rooster are driven from their homes by ungrateful masters. United in misery, they join forces and set off for Bremen Town to become musicians. Along the way, the cacophonous quartet encounters and outwits a band of robbers, and in the process discover just what they've been looking for. Full
In this classic tale by the Brothers Grimm, a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a rooster are driven from their homes by ungrateful masters. United in misery, they join forces and set off for Bremen Town to become musicians. Along the way, the cacophonous quartet encounters and outwits a band of robbers, and in the process discover just what they've been looking for. Full color.
A competent translation and soft, minimalist paintings recount this oft-told tale. Many of the framed text pages carry a small portrait of a figure featured in the larger facing scene. This story is built around dialogue among a donkey, cat, dog, and rooster and rises to a bit of action in the two scaring-the-robbers scenes. The illustrations keep the speakers in the foreground with almost no details in the colored backgrounds except for very small, wispy overhead vignettes echoing story elements. These small, almost indistinct figures are vague and dreamy, and the soft forms and gentle tone of the pictures never build the humor usually associated with the plucky "musicians" and the villains. It's a pleasant introduction to the story, but the renditions by Hans Wilhelm (Scholastic, 1992), Janet Stevens (Holiday House, 1992), Ilse Plume (Yearling, 1998), and Paul Galdone (McGraw-Hill, 1968; o.p.) are stronger.
Margaret BushCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
- North-South Books, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Product dimensions:
- 8.44(w) x 11.30(h) x 0.15(d)
- Age Range:
- 5 - 8 Years
Meet the Author
Lisbeth Zwerger lives in Vienna, Austria.
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