Written by Ann Redisch Stampler and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin (Clarion, 2010)
I am thrilled to see Jewish folklore published by mainstream publishers, especially in this tight market. In this particular tale, a young prince adopts the habits of a rooster until he learns compassion from an old man.
The good stuff
- Vivid, tangible details–Even without the illustrations, a reader and listener can envision the story. Here’s an example from the first page of text: “When he was hungry for a scrap of bread, he got a slice of cake dripping with honey. When he asked for a raisin, he was given a silver bowl of candied plums. When his eyes rested on a pony or a strudel or a bird’s nest or a golden ball, it was bundled up and brought to him before he even blinked.” This paragraph says so much.
- Structure: The power of three–Hey, it works. First a doctor tries to cure the rooster prince, then a group of magicians. But it is only on the third try with a frail old man that the prince learns what’s important.
- Structure: The seven days of the week–The old man stays a week with the rooster prince. That means seven distinctive yet cumulative opportunities for the prince to learn.
- Repetition and predictability–The prince’s rooster sounds (“Buck-buck-buck”), the old man’s complaints about humans, and the prince’s suggestions that the old man take advantage of some comfort form a pattern over the course of the seven days. This pattern creates a soothing rhythm.
- Ability for the reader to question–What is the prince going to do? What is the old man going to do? These are questions an adult reader can pose to the young listener.
- Color–The illustrations use vibrant color as does the text.
- Textured and panoramic composition–Each spread depicts not only the rooster prince but what is going on behind the scenes.
The not-so-good stuff
I’m stumped to list anything.
Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0