cover image Robin Hood and Little John

Robin Hood and Little John

Barbara Cohen, Author, David Ray, Illustrator Philomel Books $15.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-399-22732-5

Cohen's (Molly's Pilgrim) posthumously published tale makes a picture book out of a central development in the Robin Hood canon-how Little John became Robin Hood's ``best friend and right-hand man.'' The author brings verve and rhythm to the familiar story of Robin's solo meeting with John Little, their battle with staffs, Robin's defeat and their resulting mutual admiration. Ray's (Greyling) stylized paintings add drama with striking perspectives. In Robin's first encounter with John, for example, Ray balances the full figure of Robin on one end of a log bridge, showing only the foot of John on the other. Appealing as the story is, some parents may not wish to introduce the classic cycle with this episode, in which, after all, fighting well gains one entry into a group; the playground implications might be unfortunate. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)