This spry offering from the author and artists who produced The Crow Who Stood on His Beak easily outshines that earlier effort. The relatively lengthy but crisp narrative balances animated dialogue with pithy description, making this a choice read-aloud. Hoping to improve the family fortunes, a brother accepts a strange deal offered by the master of a castle: if he can work for a week without losing his temper, he will receive a gold coin. But if he fails, the master will take away all of his dreams, and ""deep and restful sleep will be gone forever."" The boy narrowly fails; it is his younger sister, Fatima, who succeeds in outwitting the master. Schami embroiders his plot with fanciful imagery; for example, the master's stolen dreams appear as luminous butterflies locked away in a castle room. Cools and Streich exploit the exotic setting with whimsical depictions of minarets, multilevel Moorish palaces and the master's Aladdin-esque curled slippers. Deftly manipulating proportion, the artists intimate a David and Goliath-style conflict, but their cheery, loose lines and varied perspectives keep the action buoyant and the mood light. Ages 5-8. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/02/1996 Release date: 12/01/1996 Genre: Children's
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.