Children's LiteratureAs always, Kimmel demonstrates his storytelling genius this time in a book matching three brothers against each other in an effort to win the farm. In this type of folktale, the youngest brother is often portrayed as a simpleton with his own take on life. Throughout the course of the tale, the brothers are all presented with these three tasks: Find the prettiest wedding scarf, the prettiest wedding dress, and the prettiest bride. Ivan, the simple brother, travels to the Castle of Cats for all three challenges. He proves successful in his attempts and the reader discovers that what you see is not always what is there. Lively, yet soothing language describes the brother's ventures into the world. The text calls for one re-read after another. Illustrations play in harmony with the text. They are wispy, frothy, and eye-catching. Something new in the illustrations can be discovered with every reading. Teachers, librarians, and parents can't go wrong when this book is read to aloud or placed upon the shelf for children to enjoy. The original tale is from Latvia. Kimmel and Krenina, however, choose to set it in Ukraine. 2004, Holiday House, Ages 4 to 8.
Nancy Garhan Attebury