cover image The Faithful Friend

The Faithful Friend

Robert D. San Souci. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $19.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-02-786131-0

Readers of this talented duo's Sukey and the Mermaid can expect to be equally impressed by this striking volume. This time, San Souci and Pinkney travel to the island of Martinique for a supernatural tale of friendship between two youths, Clement and Hippolyte-one black, one white. Clement woos and wins the beautiful Pauline, but her uncle, the evil Monsieur Zabocat, enlists a trio of zombies to curse the happy couple. Hippolyte uncovers the plot and faithfully protects Clement and Pauline at the risk of his own life. In fine folktale fashion, however, goodness is rewarded, Hippolyte survives, and Zabocat gets his just deserts. Reflecting an understanding of Caribbean culture, San Souci neatly distills the flavor of the French West Indies. Pinkney's distinctive scratchboard artwork just gets better and better; here, he captures both the sunny, carefree island setting as well as the dark undertones of voodoo magic. Ages 5-10. (Mar.)