The Adventures of Tom Thumb

The Adventures of Tom Thumb

by Marianna Mayer, K. Y. Craft

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this collaboration from the creators of Pegasus, Mayer's animated retelling of Tom Thumb's adventures and Craft's affectionate portrayal of the cherubic yet impish hero make for an enjoyable, if disjointed, read. In the time of King Arthur, Merlin uses his magic to grant Tim and Kate a son no bigger than Tim's thumb. In spite of the boy's protection by his fairy godmother, Tom Thumb endures a number of mishaps because of his size (he is swallowed three times) but survives to vanquish the fierce giant Gembo from the land. For this King Arthur knights him: "Sir Tom Thumb evermore the smallest and the boldest of the crown's protectors." Craft's renderings of architecture, dress and border art, inspired by 12th-century manuscripts and illustrations, capture both the grand and comic elements of the story. Scenes of a humiliated knight returning to the Round Table with the giant's bites taken out of his sword and shield or of Tom escaping down Gembo's mountainous shoulder will tickle the funny bones of many readers, while the diminutive fellow's reunion with his parents ends the volume on a note of happy recognition. Mayer's effort to form one coherent story out of a number of different episodes is not always smooth; still, this charming rendition does a nice job of introducing a classic character. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
From written tales and folk tradition, Marianna Mayer has fashioned her retelling of the Tom Thumb story, first recorded in the 17th century, although originating much earlier. Various cultures have been fascinated by the idea of a tiny boy and his adventures, but this Tom Thumb is the English version with links to King Arthur. Bold and adventurous, Tom encounters the Fairy Queen, is eaten by a cow, carried off by a raven and swallowed by a fish. In the end, the resilient youth defeats a fearsome giant and is knighted by King Arthur himself. The text is lively, with just enough formality to let readers know it is a traditional tale. Kinuko Craft's oil and watercolor paintings have a magical blend of humor and wonder, enhanced by borders based on 12th-century illuminations. The author's historical note will add to its usefulness in an exploration of English folklore, where it could be compared with Richard Watson's shorter tale or even Felix Hoffmann's retelling of the Grimms' German version with his modern, slightly sinister pictures. Another good partner is Margaret Hodges' Saint George and the Dragon , where Trina Schart Hyman has also used English flora and fairies in her illustrations. But Mayer, interpreter of numerous other myths and wonder tales, has come up with a marvelous Tom of her own to delight readers of many ages in this handsome edition. 2001, SeaStar/North-South, $17.50 and $15.95. Ages 5 up. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft<%ISBN%>1587170655
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Mayer introduces the little hero who comes of a wish granted by Merlin to a childless farm couple and who eventually becomes the darling of King Arthur's court. In quick succession, Tom is swallowed by a cow and tickles his way out, and is snatched by a raven that drops him down the chimney of none other than the giant who has been plaguing the countryside. The protagonist offers his services around the house, but eventually the huge man's evil nature overtakes him and he eats Tom. Having already dealt with the cow, Tom gives Gembo such a case of intestinal distress that the giant coughs him into the moat, where he is eaten by an enormous salmon, which a fisherman catches and takes to King Arthur. Since Gembo has left the country in shame, Tom is knighted and feted by the court, and when he begins to miss his parents, he returns to their farm with a bag of gold coins. Mayer's fine retelling is sure to capture the fancy of young readers as happily as she's captured the spirit of the little fellow's adventures. Less wordy than older retellings, this luscious edition will find a ready audience, and the source notes will aid and satisfy teachers and researchers. Craft's opulent oil-over-watercolor illustrations will draw in even the most reluctant reader. The impish Tom, with curly red hair and freckles, is dressed in elfin finery with a tiny, magic sword strapped at his side. An appealing choice for even the youngest reader to embrace.-Jeanne Clancy Watkins, Chester County Library, Exton, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
1.00(w) x 1.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
1 - 12 Years

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