The Glass Mountain

Diane Wolkstein, Author, Louisa Bauer, Illustrator HarperCollins Publishers $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-688-14847-8
Wolkstein's (Little Mouse's Painting) imaginative, easy-to-follow adaptation of a Grimm tale delivers a spunky heroine while remaining true to traditional fairytale hallmarks. When his only daughter reaches marriageable age, a king constructs a glass mountain and announces that the first man to climb it will win Princess Raina's hand. Many fail, and when a pleasant fellow named Jared puts himself forth, Raina decides to accompany him and try to help him. Alas, Raina falls through a crack into the musty underground lair of the troll-like Rinkrank. Wolkstein is at her best as she embroiders the episode of Raina's servitude to Rinkrank; she turns otherwise odd bits of the Grimm original (like Rinkrank's dubbing the princess ""Mother Mansrot"") into pivotal story elements, and she magnifies Raina's ingenuity and determination in fashioning an escape plan. Debut artist Bauer echoes the work of classic, early-20th-century children's illustrators in her use of color and pattern for the scenes of palace life, then comically exaggerates Rinkrank and his realm. Moving skillfully between scenes of action, suspense and pastoral beauty, she enriches and extends Wolkstein's text. Ages 5-up. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1999
Release date: 06/01/1999
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