Victor and Christabel

Victor and Christabel

by Petra Mathers

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the latest romantic picture book from Mathers ( Sophie and Lou ), a shy museum guard becomes enamored of the young woman in a painting that's delivered one day. `` `No idea where this came from,' says the museum director,'' but Victor offers up wall space for it. He is mesmerized by the subject of the work, titled ``Cousin Christabel on Her Sickbed.'' He talks to Christabel, brings her flowers and even places a nightlight nearby ``to keep the goblins away.'' Readers are treated to the strange history of the painting while Victor pines for his seemingly unattainable love. Then, just as mysteriously as the painting appeared, Christabel comes to life. Mathers's intricate tale is wrought with plenty of intrigue and sentiment as she skillfully reiterates the theme that love can conquer all. Her rich gouache paintings--in earthy tones, occasionally splashed with bright yellow or dazzling red--embody a variety of moods, from sinister to sad, and are a perfect match for this emotional roller-coaster ride of a story. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-This tale of two lonely crocodiles, kindred spirits, who find one another and (it is presumed) love and happiness through a series of amazing and magical events, is distinctly unchildlike. When a mysterious painting appears at the museum where Victor works as a guard, he is immediately attracted to the sleeping Christabel in the portrait. Meanwhile, the story behind the painting is revealed: the mousy croc has been transformed into art by her evil magician cousin, Anatole Fidibus. He did this to her in a fit of pique, as he found her insufferably annoying. Readers are likely to agree with him, as her most distinguishing characteristic is that ``She always did as she was told. Knowing this, she had long ago decided to live alone.'' Victor becomes increasingly obsessed with the picture, finally releasing her from the spell quite accidentally. Mathers's paintings, done in a palette of lush jewel tones and soft pastels, do not give the protagonists the spark that's missing in the narrative. Art complements text, in that both manage to portray the crocodiles in an unappealing manner. Anatole, in his splendid blue wizard's robe, is more interesting, although even he utters strangely inane epithets. Victor and Christabel are simply too unremarkable to elicit interest or sympathy.-Corinne Camarata, Port Washington Public Library, NY

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.66(w) x 10.63(h) x (d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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