The Faithful Friend

The Faithful Friend

4.0 2
by Robert D. San Souci, J. Brian Pinkney

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A tale of danger and intrigue set on the isle of Martinique and based on local lore.


A tale of danger and intrigue set on the isle of Martinique and based on local lore.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set in Martinique, this impressive supernatural tale, which won a 1996 Caldecott Honor, "neatly distills the flavor of the French West Indies," said PW's starred review. Ages 5-8. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Victoria Crenson
This magical tale from the island of Martinique tells of two devoted friends, Clement and Hippolyte, who "were so close that the happiness of one was the happiness of both." Cursed by a quimboiseur (a wizard) and pursued by zombies, each friend offers to lay down his life for the other and thereby returns the curse to its wicked source. Pinkney's graceful scratchboard illustrations of bright island scenes full of banana trees and hibiscus blossoms contrast with moody night scenes when the beautiful zombies scheme.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-On the beautiful island of Martinique in the 19th century, good friends Hippolyte, the son of a French-born widow, and Clement, a rich landowner's son, set out to meet a young woman Clement has fallen hopelessly in love through her picture. At their destination, they encounter the prospective bride's frightening uncle, Monsieur Zabocat, purportedly a quimboiseur, or wizard, of the worst degree. After overcoming Zabocat's several curses, which lead both young men into many true tests of friendship, the couple is married and all ends happily. Pinkney's scratchboard and oil artwork switches from bright daytime hues for most of the book to purples and grays for scenes with the zombies and snakes, which are very effective. An afterword gives valuable information about the origins of the tale, and a glossary with pronunciation makes reading aloud and/or telling the tale a real pleasure. This excellent title contains all the elements of a well-researched folktale, and convincingly conveys the richness of the West Indian culture.-Marlene Lee, Broward County Library, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Ilene Cooper
From the collaborators who gave us "Sukey and the Mermaid" (1992), a rich tale that adds Caribbean spice to the folklore stew. Based on a story from the island of Martinique (via Europe), this begins with two friends, Clement and Hippolyte, who have been raised as brothers. Clement has fallen in love with the beautiful Pauline, so the duo head off to woo her. Pauline readily accepts Clement's proposal, despite the fury of her uncle, Monsieur Zabocat, who is rumored to be a wizard. The three young people return to Clement's plantation, but in the dark of night, Hippolyte spies three zombies, who have been ordered by Monsieur Zabocat to make sure the wedding never takes place. Anyone who reveals the zombies' murderous plans will be turned to stone. After a slow start, the story ignites with dark and glorious elements. Love, hate and death take shape in Pinkney's impressive scratchboard-and-oil artwork, which is given full range in the dramatic two-page spreads. In his informative afterword, San Souci notes that one appeal of the book lies in its emphasis on the friendship of black and white characters (Clement is West Indian, Hippolyte, French), and while this is true, it is really the brooding elements of the netherworld and the promise of redemption that give the story its potency.

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 10.60(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

Meet the Author

Robert D. San Souci and Brian Pinkney combine their talents in this beautiful retelling of a traditional tale from the French West Indies. The result is an extraordinary story of romance, intrigue, and incomparable courage in which the truest of friends remain faithful to the very end.

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Faithful Friend 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Caldecott, Two young men have built a very strong bond like brothers. This story takes place on ¿the island of Martinique¿ with many twists and turns that make it a very exciting story. I think it is very important to let children know that we should be loyal to others in time of need. This story really hits on the true meaning of friendship. A native Californian, Robert D. San Souci was born in San Francisco and raised across the bay in Berkeley. Bibliography San Souci, Robert D. The Faithful Friend. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1995.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful story that you can enjoy over and over. The book teaches you about love and friendship. It shows that acts or kindness and devotation are rewarded. The illustrations are also beautiful. It is a great book to teach your child about kindness, honestly. devotation and love.