cover image The Enchanter's Daughter

The Enchanter's Daughter

Antonia Barbar, Antonia Barber. Farrar Straus Giroux, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-374-32170-3

This is a magnificent storytelling achievement, as well as a wonderful collaboration between gifted artists. Like Miranda in The Tempest , the Enchanter's daughter longs to see the world beyond the place she has grown up (in this case, a castle). But whenever she expresses her yearning to see new landscapes, the Enchanter simply waves his hand and creates that view from the castle window. She cannot remember her name, but believes she once had one, and so asks the Enchanter who her mother is. He distracts her with lies, telling her that she has no mother, that she was a rose, (which she temporarily becomes, and knows that it is not her true self) and a fish and a fawn. Each time she sees the lie, and finally tricks him into making her a bird, so she can fly away. Barber brings poignancy to this telling of the search for identity; the language is rich and moving. The paintings are opulent, textured mosaics of color and pattern, with lavish borders and interiors. A stellar work, flawlessly executed. All ages. (September)