cover image East of the Sun and West of the Moon

East of the Sun and West of the Moon

Nancy Willard. Harcourt Children's Books, $14.95 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-15-224750-8

In the form of a play, Willard retells the Norwegian folktale with verve, relying entirely on witty dialogue and pared-down stage directions to conjure up the world of the Troll King and his captives. Karen is the youngest daughter of a poor woodcutter, and when Bear comes to the door promising riches to her family if she will go with him, she agrees. She fails to break the spell on him--he is a prince in bearskin--and later must follow him to the Troll King's castle to rescue him. Moser provides glowing watercolor portraits of the cast, keying into Willard's modern references (telephone and TV) with his own contemporary touches: both Karen and her father are figures cut and dressed from this decade. From these collaborators, readers will expect the elegance of the volume, but will be surprised and pleased by the humor in the script. Ages 8-up. (Apr.)