Jim LaMarche, Illustrator, Jim LaMarche, Author . Chronicle $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8118-3477-3

This retelling in unvarnished prose stays true to the Grimm tale; the book's strength comes from LaMarche's (The Rainbabies ) colored-pencil illustrations, which exude the sense of wonder that the elves inspire in the shoemaker and his wife. In traditional versions, the shoemaker's poverty is keenly drawn, but LaMarche soft-pedals the anguish of the German original and cuts right to the elves' good deeds. The shoemaker and his wife wear their years well, with crinkly crow's-feet around their eyes and attractive silver hair, and the elves provide them with a marvelous pair of shoes by the second page ("The next morning, when the couple went into the workshop, they were flabbergasted by what they found"). Soon the villagers line the cobblestone streets to place their orders. A wordless spread of the elves—a wild-haired girl and an apple-cheeked boy—at their work conveys the joy they take in their labor of love. The drawing seems so realistic that viewers will be tempted to reach out and touch the duo's little pointed ears. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 11/17/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
DVD-Video - 978-0-7882-0547-7
DVD-Video - 978-0-7882-0546-0
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-4619-0870-8
Open Ebook - 32 pages - 978-1-4521-2506-0
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