cover image The Seven Ravens

The Seven Ravens

Laura Geringer, Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm. HarperCollins Publishers, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-023552-9

The poetic, immediate style of this deeply satisfying adaptation honors the Grimm tradition. To the original tale about a girl who sets out to rescue her seven older brothers, turned into ravens by their father's unwitting curse, Geringer (A Three Hat Day) adds elements that make the connections between the characters more tangible: a rattle is carried off by the brothers as a memento of their beloved sister; and, planning to travel ``as far as the sky is blue,'' the girl wears her brothers' shirts, each of which her mother has embroidered with a sun, moon and stars. In her encounters with these celestial beings, the eldest brother's shirt is seared and ripped. When her brother appears, the holes in the shirt correspond to wounds in his dramatically outsized bird body. The girl heals him and mends his shirt, enabling him, like his brothers, to regain human form. Gazsi's (Kimbo's Marble) meticulously textured and luminous paintings gorgeously illuminate the fantastical journey. The jewel-toned colors of the seven shirts are echoed throughout, yet the enchanted backdrop never overwhelms the story's focus-the little girl. Her expressive, photo-realistic face is a poignant reminder that her quest, however fanciful, is motivated by an essentially human and powerful desire to make her family whole again. Ages 5-9. (Sept.)