Faulkner (The Moon Clock) treads familiar ground here, putting his stamp on the classic fairy tale. A queen longs for a daughter, even offering to trade away all 12 of her sons for the fulfillment of her wish. When Her Highness gives birth to a much-desired girl, a fairy spirits the princes away, turning them into wild geese. Years later, Princess Rose learns that only she has the power to rescue her dozen siblings from their feathered fate. Unfortunately, this retelling is choppy and disjointed, lacking grace and distinctive imagery. The almost caricaturish ink and watercolor artwork, with its oddly bright and somewhat garish palette, seems at odds with the timeless subject matter. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)
- Uma Krishnaswami
This beautifully illustrated adaptation of the old Celtic legend has all the elements of a gripping fairy tale-comely heroine, a dashing young prince, a hapless mother who made a foolish wish, and of course a happy ending. In between we meet an entertaining cast of characters, including a fairy woman with a sharp tongue and ready wit, and a satisfyingly villainous Wicked Queen. This is a complex tale to spin within the confines of thirty-two pages, and Faulkner has done a commendable job of it.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-In this adaptation of a William Butler Yeats fairy tale, a queen makes a foolish wish to trade her 12 sons for 1 daughter. A fairy overhears her, and on the day a princess is born, the princes are turned into geese. When Rose is 12, the fairy explains that the only way the enchantment can be broken is if the girl knits 12 sweaters in 5 years, during which time she must not speak, laugh, or cry. Rose keeps her vow of silence but marries a young king, and when her babies are born, her husband's evil stepmother steals them and accuses her daughter-in-law of being a witch. Just as Rose is about to be burned, her brothers fly by, and she throws the sweaters over them, breaking the spell and saving herself. Andersen's ``Wild Swans'' and the Grimms' ``Six Swans'' are similar stories that are readily available. This adaptation is less magical than the original. Much of the descriptive language has been cut, and the story is bland. Faulkner has sweetened it by deleting the scenes in which the stepmother smears blood around Rose's mouth to make it look like she ate her babies. The ink-and-watercolor illustrations seem to be an adult's idea of what should appeal to children. Most of the characters have big doe eyes and chubby cheeks, but are intricately drawn. The power of Yeats's tales is their evocative language, so skip this version and go for the original.-Cheri Estes, Dorchester Road Regional Library, Charleston, SC