The team behind The Faerie's Gift present a tale that combines elements from East of the Sun and West of the Moon, The Black Bull of Norroway and The White Bear King (according to an afterword) into one seamless fairytale. "In the North, where the thickly-needled pine forests are deep and dark and the snow falls bride-white, there once lived three Princesses," the book's incantatory narrative begins. The youngest princess (never named) dreams of a golden crown, which leads to an encounter with a great white bear that carries her off to live with him in lonely splendor. Youngsters familiar with Beauty and the Beast will recognize the turn of events when the heroine uses deceit to catch a glimpse of him and nearly ruins their chance for happiness. The bear (really a prince) must return to the Troll Queen who enchanted him, high atop a glass mountaintop. On her journey "east of the sun and west of the moon" to free him, the princess encounters kind strangers in homes that seem to spring up from barren landscapes. Ceccoli uses tilted perspectives and subtly clashing colors to convey a world in which anything could happen, and sets the stage for the strangers' gifts to make magic (one wonderful spread depicts food tumbling out of an enchanted tablecloth to feed a starving family). Ceccoli makes the snowy north an appealing place to visit. A satisfying confection. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
A beautiful princess lives in a northern country with her two sisters, her mother and her father. She is willingly kidnapped by a bear and taken to live in a beautiful palace far away. Certain restrictions are placed upon her, namely that she can roam anywhere she likes in the castle, but she can never see her family again. She begs and pleads and of course the bear relents and takes her to visit her family for a week, but instructs her not to listen to her mother's advice. Of course, the princess disobeys and does as her mother instructs her, realizing that the bear is actually a handsome prince. Because she broke the rules, the bear has to go away and marry the troll queen instead of his one true love, the beautiful princess. This compilation of three classic fairy tales, East of the Sun, West of the Moon; The Black Bull of Norway; and the White Bear King, has a repetitive sentence structure that may appeal to young children and beginning readers alike. But the compilation of three such similar tales lacks something that can readily be found in the originals, namely an interesting story. The colorful illustrations throughout the book reflect the action in the story, but the story itself does not flow well. 2004, Barefoot Books, Ages 5 to 7.