cover image Heckedy Peg

Heckedy Peg

Audrey Wood. Harcourt Children's Books, $17 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-233678-3

Although text and art in this picture book match as hand and glove, it is really the ornate illustrations that carry it aloft to the dimension of classic fairytale. The mother of seven children (who are named for each day of the week) leaves for the market with a list of things for thembutter, knife, pitcher, honey, salt, crackers and egg pudding. The witch Heckedy Peg who ""lost her leg'' drops in on the kids and turns them into foodbread, pie, milk, porridge, fish, cheese and roast rib. The mother finds her children and saves them by matching each food item on her list, as in bread and butter, cheese and crackers, etc. The story has essential elements of playfulness and eeriness; also evident is a poetic license that effects a looseness in structure. The realistic figures of the happy inhabitants of the cottage are bathed in bursts of light, in contrast to the shadowy, ghastly hideout of Heckedy Peg. Ages 4-8. (September)