The Princess and the Beggar: A Korean Folktale

Anne Sibley O'Brien, Author Scholastic $14.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-590-46092-7
Written with a strongly feminist slant, this atmospheric story focuses on the determination of a girl ``known to all as the Weeping Princess.'' The young woman, refusing to marry solely on the basis of outward status, chooses the village beggar as a partner and is banished from her father's court. Through her devotion and encouragement, the beggar gradually becomes a skilled hunter, scholar and poet and is eventually welcomed into court with his bride. Written in graceful prose, this is a love story in the best sense (``In time . . . they learned not to fear each other'') with a clear and worthwhile moral. O'Brien's expressive water pastels bring a sense of mood and vitality to the story, though they frequently fail to capture an Oriental verisimilitude. (This season's Sir Whong and the Golden Pig offers a more evocative portrayal of the Korean landscape and culture.) The book's handsome design features text and art set against faux-rice paper borders; both text and endpapers are decorated with seals, as an afterword explains, ``derived from folk symbols.'' Ages 5-9. (Apr. )
Reviewed on: 03/29/1993
Release date: 04/01/1993
Genre: Children's
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