Onions and Garlic: An Old Tale

Eric A. Kimmel, Author, Katya Arnold, Illustrator, Omar Rayyan, Illustrator
Eric A. Kimmel, Author, Katya Arnold, Illustrator, Omar Rayyan, Illustrator Holiday House $15.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8234-1222-8
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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Derived from Jewish lore, this traditional tale serves up a pungent lesson in greed and humility. Getzel, the youngest son of a successful merchant, displays none of his brothers' knack for making a profit-but what he lacks in business acumen he makes up for in kindness. When his brothers set sail for new markets to exploit, Getzel begs for the same chance, but receives goods of little value: onions. A shipwreck lands him on a diamond-littered beach, in a place where gems have no value-and where the onion is unknown. A trade takes place, and Getzel returns home a hero. But when his brothers attempt a similar trade with garlic, they return with a cargo deemed ""more precious than diamonds"" by the foreign king: onions. In complement to Kimmel's (Valiant Red Rooster) expert, straightforward retelling, Arnold (Baba Yaga) uses black-line overlay on a strong, primary-based acrylic-and-watercolor palette, creating a sense of old, rustic woodcuts brought to life with freshly applied paint. Slightly skewed lines and angular compositions capitalize on the story's offbeat energy for a zesty blend of talent. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
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