Mother Holly: A Grimm Tale

Overview

Two sisters--kind, industrious Rose and vain, lazy Blanche--experience two very different adventures when each tumbles down a well and into the magical world of Mother Holly. Rose's journey begins accidentally, but because of her generosity to all she meets along the way, and her hard work for ugly but kind Mother Holly, she returns home in a shimmering gown covered in gold. Envious of Rose's good fortune, Blanche decides to visit Mother Holly herself, but her pride, laziness, and foul temper earn her an apt and ...
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Overview

Two sisters--kind, industrious Rose and vain, lazy Blanche--experience two very different adventures when each tumbles down a well and into the magical world of Mother Holly. Rose's journey begins accidentally, but because of her generosity to all she meets along the way, and her hard work for ugly but kind Mother Holly, she returns home in a shimmering gown covered in gold. Envious of Rose's good fortune, Blanche decides to visit Mother Holly herself, but her pride, laziness, and foul temper earn her an apt and well-deserved punishment. John Warren Stewig's retelling of this little-known tale by the Brothers Grimm offers children a satisfying new ending that demonstrates how with help, redemption is possible. And Johanna Westerman's lovely, intricately detailed illustrations, as spellbinding as Mother Holly's magic door, are pure enchantment.

Retells the Grimm tale of the two sisters who visit Mother Holly with very different results.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
John Warren Stewig offers a faithful retelling of the Grimm tale featuring the sisters, one kind, the other mean and lazy, who visit Mother Holly and receive vastly different recompense for their efforts while in her employ. Illustrations by Johanna Westerman convey the mean-spirited stepmother and her daughter, and the kind Rose, whose inner beauty shines forth. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Long ago and far away lives a girl named Rose and her stepsister Blanche. Rose is pretty and hardworking while Blanche is lazy and a complainer. One day, Rose follows the spindle she accidentally drops into the well and lands in a different place where she takes pity on all she meets, including the kindly, but ugly, Mother Holly. As a reward Mother Holly showers Rose with gold when she returns home. At once Rose's greedy stepmother sets about getting the same riches for her own daughter. Blanche's adventures turn out differently, though, and she returns home covered in thorns as punishment for her laziness and ill temper. Rose takes pity on her stepsister and, together, the girls return to Mother Holly's world where Blanche learns to change. The author has lovingly retold a tale of redemption and self-improvement. The accompanying illustrations are intricate and evocative of the fantastical world of the Brothers Grimm. 2001, North-South Books, $15.95 and $15.88. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Valerie O. Patterson
Kirkus Reviews
A spirited and re-imagined retelling of a lesser-known tale by the Brothers Grimm. Rose and her stepsister, Blanche, are as different as their names: Rose is sweet and gentle and works hard; Blanche is lazy and cranky. When Rose loses her spindle in the well, her stepmother insists she go after it. But she wakes in a different world on the other side of the well. There she rescues bread from being burnt in the oven; she shakes an apple tree overladen with fruit; and she milks a cow in dire need of milking. Arriving at a cottage, she is welcomed by a woman named Mother Holly who has frighteningly large teeth. But she works for Mother Holly, shaking the quilts whose down makes snow on earth and finding her kind and good. When Rose returns home, Blanche envies the golden treasures she brings with her. Leaping into the well, she fails to repeat Rose's kind acts and when she comes home she is covered in briars, not gold. In a departure from the original ending, goodhearted Rose goes back down the well with Blanche, where Blanche learns to work and not to complain, and both girls are covered in gold and glory at the end. Though the telling is often awkward and stiff (the idea of the large teeth is never really explained except in the adaptor's note), the illustrations carry the day. They are rich in naturalistic detail, from kittens and roses to bones long buried in the earth. Westerman (Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, 1995, etc.) wields color like a magic wand, making well water translucent, peacock feathers iridescent, and the heavy silk of Rose's blue gown palpable. (Folktale. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558589254
  • Publisher: North-South Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/28/2001
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 11.80 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

John Warren Stewig has written ten picture books, including King Midas, which School Library Journal called "playful and sophisticated" in a starred review. He lives in Glendale, Wisconsin.

Westerman is a graduate of Scripps College, where hse majored in studio art.

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