An old tale is brought to new life by the voice of the princess. A princess watches as her six brothers run into the forest. Suddenly, she sees six white shirts tumble out of the sky. It is the work of an evil witch, for when the shirts land on the brothers, they are instantly transformed into swans. There is only one way to break the spell: the princess must sew six shirts made from fragile stitchwort flowers. It will take her six years to complete the shirts, and during that time, she cannot make a sound or ...
An old tale is brought to new life by the voice of the princess. A princess watches as her six brothers run into the forest. Suddenly, she sees six white shirts tumble out of the sky. It is the work of an evil witch, for when the shirts land on the brothers, they are instantly transformed into swans. There is only one way to break the spell: the princess must sew six shirts made from fragile stitchwort flowers. It will take her six years to complete the shirts, and during that time, she cannot make a sound or utter a word, or the spell will remain unbroken. This beautiful story was popular long before it first appeared in print in Household Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. With stunning illustrations by Jes Cole, Christine San Jos\u00e9's version of this folktale is perfect for reading aloud.
San Jose retells the folktale of the brave young princess who saves her enchanted brothers, in the voice of the spunky girl herself. A wicked witch has changed her six brothers into swans. To free them, she must sew a shirt for each from fragile stitchwort flowers, while not making a sound for six years. After three shirts are finished, she is brought before a wise, kind prince. They fall in love, marry, and have a child; still she silently stitches. But while the prince is away, their baby is stolen and she is condemned to be burned. Desperate, as she mounts the steps to the fire, she throws the six shirts, one short a sleeve, into the air. The six swans flying above become her brothers again, although one is left with a feathered arm. They save her, the prince returns, and so does the baby, for the requisite happy ending. Cole's imagination conceives of the visual story in a sequence of dramatic settings. Costumes and architecture suggest some Renaissance fairyland with turreted castles, courtyards with roaring peacocks, ornate hair and costumes, and verdant woods. Acrylics model naturalistic characters in a style in keeping with the romantic tale. In a note, the author reflects on the background of the tale and her method of retelling.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-This version of the classic fairy tale is told compellingly from the sister's perspective. The princess's deep love for her brothers is established in the first paragraph and explains her actions throughout the story. This retelling follows the traditional tale until the end: it's the jealousy of her husband's sister and not her mother-in-law that leads to near catastrophe. But all is forgiven and everyone lives happily ever after. Children will be satisfied with the brightly colored, full-page illustrations. Different perspectives in the pictures support the story's drama and add interest. For a new spin on an old favorite, this is a strong choice.-Carol S. Surges, McKinley Elementary School, Wauwatosa, WI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Both the Grimm brothers and Hans Christian Andersen tell the ancient tale of the sister who rescued her brothers, turned into swans by a wicked stepmother. San Jose retells it in a softened and sentimentalized version in the voice of the girl herself, who must be silent for six years while she makes shirts from a fragile flower to return her brothers to human form. They each have personalities but not names-she refers to them as Oldest Brother, and so on-and what happens to the sister-in-law who has actually stolen the child of the girl and the prince is not described. Cole's acrylic paintings are problematic too: While some lovely patterns appear on garments and backgrounds, the colors are garishly bright and the faces are not individualized. Try the lovely version of Ken Setterington's The Wild Swans (2003) instead. (Picture book/folktale. 7-9)