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Golden Bird

Golden Bird

by Neil Philip, Isabelle Brent (Illustrator)

Three princes attempt to discover who is stealing the fruit from their father's golden apple tree. The two older princes are not successful; will the youngest prince triumph?


Three princes attempt to discover who is stealing the fruit from their father's golden apple tree. The two older princes are not successful; will the youngest prince triumph?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Shimmering pages, agleam with gold ink, gussy up this traditional fairy tale. A greedy king orders each of his three sons to search for the thief who stole fruit from a golden apple tree. The youngest son-one of the Grimms' least likely heroes-steadily ignores the advice of a sage fox who, despite the prince's well-meaning but inept efforts, leads him to untold riches. The text is long for the picture-book audience, not easily read aloud in a single sitting. Ornate blue-and-white borders frame delicate, portrait-like illustrations, evocative in places of medieval story tapestries or a book of hours. Lavish though somewhat arbitrarily applied gold ink embellishments to the illustrations and borders stand out most, however, placing this pretty interpretation at the opposite end of the spectrum from such moodier Grimm renditions as Sergei Goloshapov's The Six Servants (reviewed below). An elaborate, gifty volume. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Three princes take turns trying to find out who is stealing golden apples from their father's tree. The eldest and middle ones fall asleep, but the youngest stays awake and sees a golden bird. He shoots an arrow at it, but only dislodges a single feather. The king sends his sons out one at a time to find the bird. The older brothers disregard the advice of a friendly fox and fall under a spell, but the youngest is attentive and escapes the enchantment. The fox continues to help him find the bird, as well as a golden horse and a beautiful princess, even though he demonstrates a consistent inability to follow instructions. After an unpleasant brush with the now disenchanted brothers, the youngest prince and the princess live happily ever after and the fox is restored to human form. Philip is a skillful storyteller with a good ear for pace and rhythm. The narrative is crisp and smooth, without unnecessary embellishments, and serves as a solid foundation for Brent's glowing illustrations. The jewel-toned, beautifully detailed paintings with their patterned borders and gold-leaf highlights are rich but not gaudy. The text is incorporated into the pictures through matching borders on the pages facing the artwork. Another successful collaboration from Philip and Brent that will be a welcome addition to folklore collections.-Donna L. Scanlon, Lancaster County Library, PA
Julie Corsaro
Retold in colloquial language, this handsome version of a classic German tale about the quest for a golden bird, a golden horse, and the princess from the golden castle has been thoughtfully adapted for children. Themes of loyalty, humility, and compassion are combined with traditional folktale elements, such as the talking beast and the triumph of the youngest son. The one surprise is the prolific Philip's omission of specific source information; this is identified only as a "Brothers Grimm story." Brent's gold-leaf, delicately detailed full-page paintings, surrounded by decorative borders, have a dignified quality that matches the tone of the text.

Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st U.S. Edition
Product dimensions:
9.74(w) x 9.62(h) x 0.32(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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