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The Water of Life

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Based on a Grimm fairy tale, Rogasky's elegant text portrays the age-old battle between Goodness and Evil. Three sons seek the Water of Life, which will cure the illness of their father, the king, but only the youngest is pure enough of heart to find it. Before the story's end, he is tested by a good dwarf, falls in love with a princess in an enchanted castle, tames two lions, saves the kingdoms of three kings, survives the treachery of his brothers and finally finds happiness. As usual, Caldecott medalist Hyman has created stunning illustrations that are inventive and richly detailed: black rooks silhouetted by firelight, medieval tapestries in the king's bedchamber, enchanted beasts, and more. This is a simply beautiful book. (4-10)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 6 A retelling of a little-known tale from Grimm. Three brothers weep at their father's fatal illness until an old man tells them of a magic cure, the Water of Life. Each in turn sets out to find the cure, but because the older two have unpure motives and are mean-spirited, they do not succeed. The youngest son, through kindness and perseverance, attains the magic fluid and the love of a princess who promises to wait a year for his return. Tricked by the older brothers who substitute bitter sea water in his goblet and present the Water of Life to their father as their own achievement, the youngest brother is banished. At the end of the year, the false brothers try to win the princess, but the youngest once again wins the prize through strength of character and purity of motive. This traditional tale with all the trappings of magical elements, romance, and underlying psychological truth, is brought to life by Rogasky's spirited telling and Hyman's lush illustrations. The richly detailed paintings bring the landscape of the folk tale vividly to life, from the sick king's dark bed chamber hung with tapestries and dimly lit by stained glass windows, to the lightness and cheer of the wedding celebration at the end. Particularly noteworthy is the artist's use of color and light to vary the mood. An exquisite blend of text and illustrations, this rendition will be appealing to older children as well as those in primary grades. Connie C. Rockman, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, Conn.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823405527
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/1986
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.79 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.38 (d)

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