cover image Swan Lake

Swan Lake

Margot Fonteyn. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-200600-6

The legend behind the ballet that has long captivated audiences is presented in storybook form. Siegfried is, of course, the headstrong prince who must choose a bride. Odette is the swan-maiden who appears to him on a moonlit night, captive of a cruel spell. The owl-magician who has her in thrall appears to make a mockery of their love, but the lovers, denied one another in life, plunge to the depths of the lake together--thus breaking the spell forever. In book form, as on the stage, this proves a magnificent story--an enchanted, romantic vision underlaid with powerful themes of good and evil, and of reality and illusion. Fonteyn's competent telling moves the plot along smoothly, but Hyman's illustrations--magical tableaux of mood and mystery, in which each detail and expression seem to have been perfectly attended to--make this extraordinary pas de deux soar. All ages. (Mar.)