Sorotchintzy Fair: Gogol

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With this tale by Gogol, Soviet artist Spirin ( Once There Was a Tree ; The White Cat ) turns his masterful eye on swarming scenes of Russian peasants carousing at a summer fair. Broad-faced, ruddy country folk spring to life in these beautifully designed pages, and the holiday finery, rendered in glowing, jewel tones, is fit for a king. Even farm animals are endowed with personality and expression. In crowd scenes and in the play of light and shadow on his characters' faces and forms, Spirin's work here is reminiscent of Brueghel's. The tale itself almost equals the artist's vision but becomes somewhat bogged down in the middle: a girl finds true love at the fair, but her hopes are nearly dashed by her mean-spirited stepmother. Luckily, the girl's suitor is clever, her father is a little addled and the fair is a place where anything--including an appearance by the devil himself--is possible. By the book's ``happily-ever-after'' ending, readers will be eager to turn back to its grand title page and start all over again. Ages 4-up. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 2-6-- Gogol's classic story is brought to life through Spirin's lively and intricate illustrations. At the annual Sorotchintzy Fair, the lovely Paraska meets a handsome young man whom she wants to marry. Although her father agrees, her formidable stepmother forbids it. In desperation, the young man strikes a deal with a gypsy, who manipulates events so that the farmer will do anything to see his daughter married to the young man--even overrule his wife. This text has been condensed from the original; unfortunately, the abbreviated version is often choppy and rather confusing. Characters such as the stepmother and the farmer's friend randomly appear and then are never mentioned again. And the involved plot requires several readings to be fully understood. The saving grace is the atmospheric illustrations. Executed in what appears to be egg tempera covered with an oil glaze, they reflect Spirin's preoccupation with such painters as Bruegel and Van Eyck. Combining several different visual styles, he playfully creates a trompe-l'oeil of red sleeves and pig heads. The colors shift in intensity; another effective change is the progression of the paintings from flat, thin washes to fully dimensional, realistic renderings. The book's use with children may be limited, but the art is arresting and deserves an appreciative audience. All in all, an intriguing artistic interpretation. --Denise Anton Wright, Library Book Selection Service, Inc., Bloomington, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879238797
  • Publisher: Godine, David R. Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/1991
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 12.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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