Petit Jean, humble but clever, appears to have won the kingdom-wide contest for the princess's hand. But the dishonest king, intending to renege on his promise, sets the lad an additional, seemingly impossible task. In order to secure his nuptials, Jean must care for 10,000 rabbits for four days without losing a one--a feat he accomplishes by dint of both magic and wit, in the process having some goodnatured fun at the king's expense. In this crisp and sprightly interpretation, storyteller Kimmel takes full advantage of the plot's sly humor, which he accentuates through many colorful, deft turns of phrase--e.g., ``The king could not break his promise, but he could tie it in knots.'' The result is a tale that is at once traditional and fresh. Employing his typically lank figures, Rayevsky adds rich, predominantly earth-toned illustrations that emphasize character and expression with a slight ironic bite. Though a few are overly dark, almost muddy, in hue, they contain diverting details (one suitor, for example, sports a Native American headdress) and pack a narrative punch all their own. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1993 Release date: 03/01/1993 Genre: Children's
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