Celia and the Sweet, Sweet Water

Katherine Paterson, Author, Vladimir Vagin, Illustrator Clarion Books $15 (32p) ISBN 978-0-395-91324-6
Compassion is the key to this compelling fairy tale, with its heroine's quest showing glimmers of the one in Paterson's recent novel Parzival. When Celia was an infant, a ""terrible war"" left the girl fatherless and drove her mother from the home in which she grew up. Now Celia's mother is ill and requests ""the sweet, sweet water of my childhood"" to heal her. The heroine, knowing nothing of her destination, sets out to grant her mother's wish with her grumbling dog, Brumble. Several challenges stand in her path, including a ""mad man of the mountain,"" whom she soothes with music, and a ""wretched woman"" of the water, whom she befriends by asking, ""Why are you so wretched?"" (the allusion to the Fisher King cannot be overlooked). Celia completes her mission, but Paterson gives it a surprising twist, letting readers know the girl possessed the antidote all along. Paterson cleverly employs Brumble to give voice to the passive choice that Celia ignores as she soldiers on. Vagin (who teamed up with Paterson for The King's Equal) expertly navigates the thin line between the allegorical nature of the quest and the real world, where its roots are firmly planted. His wretched woman weeps in green haze and shadow under a willow tree, as even the surrounding birches bend in sorrow; yet Celia shines, cloaked in red, as a child readers would recognize as a friend or neighbor of their own. Readers may take a leap of fancy here, but author and artist supply them with many familiar guideposts along the way. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/21/1998
Release date: 09/01/1998
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.