Oom Razoom, Or, Go I Know Not Where, Bring Back I Know Not What: A Russian Tale

Diane Wolkstein, Author, Dennis McDermott, Illustrator HarperCollins Publishers $14.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-688-09416-4
Folklorist and master storyteller Wolkstein ( The Banza ; The Magic Wings ) reaches into her bag of goodies and pulls out this plum of a Russian tale about a good-hearted archer sent on an impossible journey by an evil king who covets his wife. Alexis's mission takes him to a faraway place of enchantment, where he finds Oom Razoom, a genie who helps him outwit the treacherous monarch. Liberally dosed with magic, this full-blooded, swashbuckling adventure features a cast of exotic characters and, as is to be expected from a storyteller of Wolkstein's stature, the story unfolds seamlessly in a cadence perfectly geared for reading aloud. Her mellifluous dialogue is at once naturalistic and rich in captivating language. This thrilling tale provides a smashing debut for McDermott--opening the book is like opening a treasure chest. His splashy, brilliantly colored pictures, many of them presented in triptych- or icon-like form, have an old-fashioned air that harks back to the golden age of storybooks, when illustrations were lavish, beckoning readers to curl up and be transported to unexplored realms. Set by its gifted creators in an enchanted world all its own, this is a worthy addition to the canon of cherished fables--a book that could easily become a classic. Ages 5-up. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
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