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The Trow-Wife's Treasure
     

The Trow-Wife's Treasure

by Dunrea, Olivier Dunrea
 
Farmer Bracken Van Eyck lives a quiet life tending to his animals and fields, reading his books, and playing with his dog. When a strange little woman--a trow-wife--comes along and asks for help finding her lost baby, the farmer immediately begins searching. After finding the child, the trow-wife insists that he accept a reward--a hen that soon begins laying golden

Overview

Farmer Bracken Van Eyck lives a quiet life tending to his animals and fields, reading his books, and playing with his dog. When a strange little woman--a trow-wife--comes along and asks for help finding her lost baby, the farmer immediately begins searching. After finding the child, the trow-wife insists that he accept a reward--a hen that soon begins laying golden eggs. Full color. 32 pp. Ages 4-8. Pub: 4/98.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Meticulously yet unassumingly wrought in both text and art, this fairy tale possesses a distinct and ancient flavor. Bracken Van Eyck is more than content to tend his small farm and enjoy the companionship of his loyal dog, Caleb, on a mythical European island. On a typical day, "he worked in the fields. He played with Caleb and read his books. He helped his neighbors if they needed him." And when a distraught trow-wife (a troll-like creature) appears and asks Bracken's help in finding her baby, who has been whisked away by the wind, Bracken calmly assists her. The trow-wife thanks Bracken for his trouble by presenting him with an unusual henone that will deliver a special treasure after a year and a day. Dunrea's (The Painter Who Loved Chickens) spare sentences skillfully convey a colorful adventure, while the trow-wife's dialect ("Can thoo no help me find me bairn?") signals her otherworldly spirit. Bracken's good nature is the star here; the man himself appears almost stoic, his facial features obscured by a wide-brimmed brown hat and a bushy black beard. Precise gouache paintings of realistic livestock, rocky landscapes and barnyard buildings of gray stone vividly depict the isolated islander's world. An exceptional page design sets words and pictures on blue-gray ground, then frames both with slim red lines; these subtle elements suggest the formality of a traditional tale. The trow-wife's treasure becomes not just Bracken's, but the readers'. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
Kindness rewarded is the theme of this original folktale. Bracken Van Eyck lived with his dog on a farm in the mythical land of Nord Eyris. One evening he met a troll looking for her child. She asked him to help her, and so they searched all over the farm. After much time and effort, Bracken was successful. The trow-wife rewarded him with a black hen. She told him to care for the hen for a year and a day and then he would "receive a trow-wife's treasure worth having". Bracken was rewarded with golden eggs. While he became wealthy, he continued to be a kind and generous man. The inclusion of old Northern European words in the trow-wife's dialect enhances the atmosphere of the story. It also makes this fun to read aloud. The earth-tone pallet of his gouache paintings is just right for the setting. The illustrations invite perusal: Bracken is mysterious in his wide-brimmed, eye-covering hat, and his dog, Caleb, is full of personality. Share this as a bedtime tale to give everyone sweet dreams.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3A gentle story about a kindhearted farmer on a mystical island off the coast of Europe and the "trow-wife" (troll) who loses her "trow-bairn" and asks his help in finding it. Searching patiently, the man finds the child at last and restores it to its mother. In return, the troll gives him a small black hen, instructing: "Keep her well fed and warm for one year an' a day. Then thoo shall receive a trow-wife's treasure worth having." At the appropriate time, she watches, hidden, as the farmer discovers the hen's golden eggs, satisfied that he will use his wealth to help his neighbors as he had helped her. Dunrea has fashioned a beautiful book with folklike gouache paintings on soft blue-gray paper, enhanced by a stunning layout. Animals, farmer, barn, and outbuildings all stand solidly on rust red thick lines that serve as groundlines as well as borders around the text. Everything on the farm has its place, demonstrating farmer Bracken Van Eyck's loving care for his own, and the ordered and tranquil life that he and his animals lead together. The smoothly flowing text would be excellent as a read-aloud or to share with a child.Judith Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Horn Book Magazine
This story of a kind farmer who helps an elfin-eared trow (troll) wife find her lost child has a blunt, rudimentary appeal. The spare narrative includes dialogue written in a dialect that adds touches of color, though not so much as to bewilder its intended audience. It evokes the misty landscape of a mythical Scottish isle, a feeling enhanced visually by a windswept countryside dotted with burial mounds and monolithic formations. The sturdy, flat figures painted against a solid gray background achieve a sense of resoluteness that contrasts sharply with the plaintive tone of the text. "'Can thoo no help me find me bairn? The tricksy wind swept 'im away an' he's lost somewhere hereabouts,'" the trow-wife begs Bracken the farmer. The two search the outlying buildings as the farm animals look on. Meanwhile, the babe, carried along by the wind, floats above the action always just out of reach until Bracken recovers him from the barn hayloft. The grateful mother rewards him with a hen who lays golden eggs, which Bracken shares with "friends and strangers alike," just as the trow-wife knew he would. On the surface this is a simple story of kindness rewarded, but the pictures in this arresting book suggest something deeper and more mystical.
Kirkus Reviews
Dunrea (The Tale of Hilda Louise, 1996, etc.), in a mode more vague than subtle, tells of kindness magically rewarded; outstanding art is matched to a confusing, unfinished plot. Ever willing to help those in need, farmer Bracken Van Eyck pursues and finally catches a squat trow-wife's windblown bairn. Though he asks no reward, she gives him a black hen that, after a year-and-a-day's care, lays golden eggs. Dunrea's farmyard scenes combine exact, delicately brushed flowers and details with solid, gracefully posed figures, done in muted earth colors and placed along parallel red foreground lines; the effect is quiet and formal, with a touch of mystery. In the end, Van Eyck isn't changed by his wealth at all, except that he's able to be even more helpful, but readers are toldnot shownthat, and in such an abbreviated way that few are likely to understand the benison. Lovely art, and an unusual insight, squandered by mediocre storytelling. (glossary) (Picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374377922
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
04/15/1998
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.97(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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