cover image The Girl Who Dreamed Only Geese: And Other Tales of the Far North

The Girl Who Dreamed Only Geese: And Other Tales of the Far North

Howard Norman. Harcourt Children's Books, $22 (164pp) ISBN 978-0-15-230979-4

Right from the start--from the stylized image of the tautly posed girl dreaming of geese on the cover, to the lightly stamped snowflakes that mark the endpapers and divide the chapters, to Norman's (known for The Bird Artist and other works for adults) introduction, in which he describes the intriguing process that shaped these 10 tales--the care behind this deeply absorbing collection shines forth. These folktales (which Norman describes as ""living things, each with its own personal history"") cover the range of human experience, from simple domestic dramas to mystical struggles to romance, comedy and even religious parody, as in ""Noah Hunts a Woolly Mammoth,"" which takes a wryly humorous view of the ethics and actions of the familiar Biblical figure. By way of contrast, ""The Girl Who Watched in the Nighttime,"" is a tender story of a girl who guards her cousins by night, rescues them after they are kidnapped and eventually meets her perfect match. The Dillons (Her Stories) draw a ribbon of black-and-white figures in the style of Inuit stone-carving atop each double-page spread to tell each story visually, and pick out the climactic moments for full-page color illustrations. An entirely satisfying and handsome collection that, like all good storytelling, is at its best when read aloud to a child. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)