Elfabet: An ABC of Elves, by Jane Yolen (1989)

With exquisite illustrations and detailed floral borders, Elfabet is a book to be enjoyed again and again.

This ingenious alphabet book features an assortment of elves from A to Z. Some elves are clever; some are mischievous; all are endearing. Look inside and see if you can find everything alphabetical from alligator to zipper. (Dustjacket flap)

Jane Yolen is the award-winning author of more than 150 books, including Moon River and Other Tale, The Girl in the Golden Bower, All Those Secrets of the World (a Reading Rainbow selection), Bird of Time, and Letting Swift River Go. She lives with her family in Hatfield, MA.

Lauren Mills is the author and illustrator of many picture books, including The Rag Coat and Tatterhood and the Hobgoblins, which won the New England Book Design Award. She and her husband, Dennis Nolan, received the 1996 Golden Kite Award for Illustration for Fairy Wings. Lauren Mills lives in western MA.

Published in 1989 by Little, Brown and Company


Noble-Hearted Kate: A Celtic Tale, by Marianne Mayer, 1990

Noble-Hearted Kate: A Celtic Tale is inspired by old English, Welsh, and Scottish legends, and lavishly illustrated by artist Winslow Pels This book is a fresh and intriguing tale about the nature of loss, the power of love, and the remarkable girl whose noble heart rescued good from evil … and never faltered in its course.

Tonight, while Kate and her beloved stepsister, Meghan, sleep, there is powerful magic afoot. For Kate’s mother, the queen, fearing that Meghan is far more beautiful than her own sweet daughter, has snuck down the castle corridor and into Meghan’s room to place a pouch of magic herbs beneath the sleeping girl’s pillow …

By morning’s light, Meghan is no longer the fairest princess. And Kate, brokenhearted by her stepsister’s plight, decides to lead Meghan on an extraordinary quest for the answer that will set things right.

Thus begins Noble-Hearted Kate, a tale both whimsical and poignant by Marianna Mayer that sweeps Kate and Meghan down a cool, dark river and into a forbidden forest, to a place where the veil between Faerie and man is drawn apart … and anything can happen. There, the girls encounter faeries terrible in their beauty and power, and creatures as wise and magical as any you’d meet in a tale by Lewis Carroll. And at the end of their journey, in a far-off Kingdom, Kate will risk her own mortal soul to save a handsome prince form enchantment. (Dustjacket flap)

Marianna Mayer’s retelling of Beauty and the Beast is a perennial bestseller and her original The Unicorn and the Lake is a six-time winner of Children’s Choice awards and an American Booksellers Pick of the List. She is also the author of The Sorcerer’s’s Apprentice and The Prince and the Princess. She live in Connecticut.

Winslow Pels has illustrated theater posters and books for adults, as well as books for young readers, including Spectacles and the Miss Baba series.

1990 by Bantam Skylark Books.

Published in: on January 19, 2007 at 11:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Matreshka, by Becky Hickox Ayres (1992)

In Matreshka a young girls little wooden doll saves her life when she is captured by Baba Yaga.

When Kata receives Matreshka [a Russian nesting doll] as a gift in exchange for a good deed, she simply slips the little wooden doll into her apron pocket and continues on her errand. Who could guess that Matreshka is anything more than an ordinary toy? But no long after, a horrid winter storm strikes. Kata’s near-frozen feet take her to the door of a strange-looking house on chicken legs. An old woman with long, bony fingers lets her in, and Kata Quickly realizes that she is now the prisoner of Baba Yaga, a terrible witch. Luckily, Kata is not really alone. A tiny voice from her pocket cries, “Let me out,” and the ingenious magic of Matreshka begins to unfold. (Dust jacket flap)

Becky Hickox Ayres has written two other books for children: Victoria Flies High, a picture book illustrated by Robin Koontz, and Salt Lake City, a work of nonfiction. She lives in Oregon with her family.

Alexi Natchev has illustrated many books for children and adults in his native Bulgaria, including Tale of Urso Brunov: Little Father of All Bears. He is also a printmaking and has been a professor of drawing at the Academy of Arts in Sofia. He lives in Idaho with his family.

Published in 1992 by Doubleday Book for Young Readers .

Published in: on January 18, 2007 at 2:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Parrot by Laszlo & Raffaella Gal (1997)

The Parrot: An Italian Folktale
Retold and adapted, this classic Italian folktale within a tale is enhanced by father-daughter team Laszlo and Raffaella Gal’s richly detailed paintings.

When a merchant goes away and leaves his beautiful daughter alone, the young prince who has loved her from afar is determined to keep her safe from the clutches of the evil old king. In order to keep watch over her, the prince turns himself into a parrot and tells her a marvelous story, which he threatens to cut short if there are any interruptions. So spellbound is the maiden that she ignores the soldiers insistently pounding on her door, until before she knows it, her father returns and she is safe once again. (Dust jacket flap)

Laszlo Gal is one of Canada’s foremost illustrators, with books such as Pome and Peel, The Willow Maiden, Iduna and the Magic Apples and Prince Ivan and the Firebird: A Russian Folk Tale to his credit. He has won many awards, including the 1980 Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award for The Twelve Dancing Princesses. He illustrated The Parrot with his daughter, Raffaella Gal.

1997 by Groundwood Books.

Published in: on January 18, 2007 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Iduna and the Magic Apples, by Marianna Mayer (1988)

In Iduna and the Magic Apples, this ancient Norse myth comes to life again in the haunting words of Marianna Mayer and the exquisitely detailed illustrations of Laszlo Gal.SUMMARY
Out of the northern mists comes this timeless tale of the goddess Iduna, whose gift of everlasting life keeps the world young. The divine love that flows from the beautiful Iduna constantly renews the earth, and the golden apples from her sacred garden give immortality to the gods.

But when the precious fruit is stolen and the goddess abducted by an evil giant, a frozen darkness descends upon the world. A journey to the land of the dead and a battle of fire and ice must be undertaken before the wicked and conquered and Iduna can once again reign in her sacred grove. (Dust jacket flap)

Marianna Mayer has adapted many fairy-tale classics for children. She is also the author of the highly praised The Unicorn and the Lake, an American Bookseller “Pick of the Lists,” an IRA “Children’s Choice,” and the winner of the 1984 Colorado Children’s Book Award.  She also wrote PegasusAdventures of Tom Thumb, Noble-Hearted Kate: A Celtic Tale, and Unicorn Alphabet.  She lives in Connecticut.

Laszlo Gal is the award-winning illustrator of a number of books for children, including The Parrot, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Little Mermaid, The Willow Maiden, and The Enchanted Tapestry. He studied in Budapest and immigrated to North America in the 1950’s. He live in Canada with his family.

Published in 1988 by Macmillan Publishing Company.

Published in: on January 18, 2007 at 2:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Purim Goat, by Yuri Suhl (1980)

The Purim Goat

The Purim Goat is a warm and evocative story about European Jewish life at the turn of the century, brought vividly to life with Kaethe Zemach’s matching illustrations.

Hoping to earn some money so his pet goat won’t be sold to pay a debt, a poor Jewish boy teaches the animal to dance.

Author Yuri Suhl was born in Poland and came to the USA as a young boy. He is a bilingual writer and is the author of four volumes of poetry in Yiddish and two adult novels in English. His documentary anthology, They Fought Back: The Story of Jewish Resistance in Nazi Europe, has earned him a considerable reputation as a writer on the Holocaust. Mr. Suhl’s books for children include Simon Boom Gives a Wedding (a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award winner) and Uncle Misha’s Partisans (winner of the Schwartz Award of the Jewish Book Council as “an outstanding contribution to Jewish Juvenile literature”).  Other titles include The Man Who Made Everyone Late, Simon Boom Gets a Letter, The Merrymaker, among others.

Illustrator Kaethe Zemach was born in Boston and moved to Europe when she was ten, living in Italy, Denmark and London before returning home. She is the co-author of The Princess and Froggie, and the author-illustrator of The Beautiful Rat.

Published in 1980 by Four Winds Press, NY.