cover image Nurse Lugton's Curtain

Nurse Lugton's Curtain

Virginia Woolf. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-200545-0

Nurse Lugton falls asleep over her sewing, and the piece--decorated with people and animals--comes alive. A ``great ogress,'' Lugton has placed an enchantment on the cloth; its ``inhabitants'' are free only when she snores five times, but must freeze again when she awakens. Although Woolf wrote this tale in 1924 it wasn't published until 1965--perhaps with good reason. The prose is surprisingly lifeless (``For it was well known that even the smallest monkey was enchanted. For a great ogress had them in her toils . . . ''), rambling and confusing. Unfortunately, this isn't Vivas's best work, either. The illustrator of Possum Magic and The Nativity presents some fanciful animal characters and her palette is characteristically soft, but a certain vitality--generally a strong suit for this artist--is lacking. Her depiction of Nurse Lugton as a tired, kindly-looking older woman doesn't jibe with Woolf's descripton. Vivas's Lugton doesn't seem like a wicked enchantress, but like someone who would set the captives of the cloth free if she could. Disjointed and disappointing. Ages 7-up. (Mar.)