Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyKimmel's sprightly retelling of a Middle Eastern folktale and Fisher's ambient artwork shimmer with wisdom and magic. A princess sends each of three princes to find a ``wondrous object'' so that one will prove himself worthy of her hand. The suitors are cousins, and after a year's search they reconvene to display their treasures: a crystal ball that shows what is happening anywhere, a flying carpet that speeds to any destination, and an orange that will cure any illness. When the ball reveals the princess on her deathbed the men combine their gifts to rescue her and, revived, she decides to marry the one ``most responsible for saving her.'' Love and uncommon good sense prevail. Sly humor and high spirits buoy Kimmel's text. At the same time a sense of mystery and wonder (``In the tomb of a forgotten king I discovered this'') underlines the work, so that it becomes both fairy tale and modern fable. Fisher ( Kinderdike , Children's Forecasts, Dec. 20) suggests the exotic Arabian setting with a rich palette of striking tones--pink desert skies, violet vistas--and by incorporating unexpected closeups and unusual angles in his compositions. The play of light and shadow is spectacular. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Susie WildeThree Middle Eastern princes woo a wise princess. She sends them on a quest and the one who finds the most precious object will become her groom. The suitors meet and while bragging and admiring their treasures, they discover that they must combine them to save the princess from death. And who wins her hand? Mohsen, her favorite, who sacrifices the most, entirely gives up his gift to save her life. The wisdom of the princess, the kindness of all, and the selflessness of each character add a dimension to this well-told puzzle tale.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 2-4-A wise and beautiful princess is wooed by three princes. Two are men of wealth and renown, while the third, Mohsen, possesses ``little more than his handsome face, his cloak, and his camel.'' It is he, of course, whom she wishes to marry. To give him a chance to compete with them, she sends them all on a quest, vowing to marry the one who returns with the greatest wonder. The first finds a crystal ball; the second, a flying carpet; Mohsen, a curative orange. On their return journey, the men see tragedy in the crystal ball-the princess is dying. The carpet whisks them back to the princess, and Mohsen feeds her his orange. She is saved, but still the question remains-which prince should she marry? She chooses Mohsen because he has sacrificed his treasure for her. Storytellers familiar with Virginia Tashjian's With a Deep Sea Smile (Little, 1974; o.p.) or Harold Courlander's The King's Drum & Other African Stories (Harcourt, 1962; o.p.) will recognize this as a variant of the African story, ``The Search.'' But where these earlier versions leave the final question unresolved, Kimmel's tale provides a satisfying conclusion. His smooth narrative is strong and direct-traditional in structure, but with a fresh, contemporary voice. Dark underpainting and dense blocks of bold color give Fisher's illustrations weight and dimension, while his dramatic use of light focuses the eye effortlessly through the pictures. A welcome addition that deserves to become a read-aloud standard.-Linda Boyles, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL
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