cover image The Princess and the Lord of Night

The Princess and the Lord of Night

Emma Bull. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-15-263543-5

Between its once-upon-a-time beginning and its happily-ever-after ending, this picture storybook brings to life a spunky and intelligent heroine who, through acts of kindness, wisdom and goodness, manages to outwit the evil Lord of the Night. Without compromising the originality of her own voice, Bull ( Falcon ; Bone Dance ) makes use of traditional fairy-tale devices--a journey, a magic cloak, animals with special powers--so that the tale seems at once old and new. The princess has a crow ``as black as the inside of an inkwell who could recite every poem ever written'' and ``a walnut-brown dog who understood anything she said,'' but she willingly sacrifices her treasures to help others and, by journey's end, breaks the curse visited upon her at her birth. Gaber's ( The Woman Who Flummoxed the Fairies ) elegant illustrations contain a Renaissance luminosity and precision reminiscent of the work of Susan Jeffers, but she also includes fantasy images--gray mists, delicate apple blossoms, jagged yellow smoke--that spill out from the confines of the paintings' white borders. Stylish and visually intriguing, this lyrical fairy tale is enchanting. Ages 4-10. (Mar.)