A Tale of Tulips, a Tale of Onions

David Francis Birchman, Author, Jonathan Hunt, Illustrator
David Francis Birchman, Author, Jonathan Hunt, Illustrator Four Winds $15.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-02-710112-6
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In a truly ``dramatic'' presentation, Hunt ( Jumbo ) illustrates two linked stories set in 17th-century Holland as a 1920s melodrama, played out upon a stage. Gretel Grooter loves to paint; her father Ed Vard Grooter loves tulips. Gretel also loves Captain Drooter van Zooter, who loves onions. But alas, ``Meener Horst Hilder, owner of the Gulden Guilder , a flute that flew the seven seas (sailing moo cows to the Moluccan Isles and loads of spice to the Zeiderzees),'' hires Gretel's beloved for a lengthy voyage to Kracka-toe-Krack. On Drooter's much-wished-for return, further obstacles to the course of true love are created when he mistakes a rare tulip bulb for an onion, but these are soon overshadowed by the collapse of tulipomania. Amid general celebration, the curtain descends. All very clever, full of wordplay, romance, history (with an endnote on Holland's tulipomania of 1634-1637), and even a cumulative element as Ed Vard calculates the spiraling value of different tulip rarities in terms of farm animals. So much cleverness, unfortunately, calls attention to itself, though admirers of the team's Victorious Paints the Great Balloon will enjoy. Ages 6-9. (Mar.)
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