cover image The Trouble with Wishes

The Trouble with Wishes

Diane Stanley, . . HarperCollins, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-055451-4

Stanley (Saladin: Noble Prince of Islam ) here focuses on Greek mythology's Pygmalion, introducing for the sculptor a female best friend, Jane, with sparkling results. When Pyg carves a woman out of stone, Jane deems her a "beautiful goddess... absolutely perfect." Yet Jane recognizes that the statue was also "as cold and heartless as the stone from which she was made." While in the original myth, when the statue comes to life, she marries her creator, Stanley's version depicts the gal stepping off her pedestal and rebuffing Pyg's declaration of love. "Get me out of here. I've been a rock for twenty million years and I'm ready for some excitement." Stanley sets up a comic contrast between the arrogant gal and Jane. When, admiring her reflection in a pond, the animated statue falls in and soaks her lovely locks, Pyg takes her to the "Temple of Beauty" for a coiff and manicure; she decrees Pyg's home "a dump" and dismisses him in favor of the prince's palace. Meanwhile, Jane creates her own companion from stone: "Hers didn't have to be perfect. Just loyal and loving, merry and brave" (in a kid-pleasing revelation, it turns out to be a dog). Readers will find Stanley's highly humorous tale, enhanced by her trademark meticulously detailed art, a great deal of fun. Ages 5-8. (Jan.)