cover image The Three Wishes: An Old Story

The Three Wishes: An Old Story

Margot Zemach. Farrar Straus Giroux, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-374-37529-4

Much of the joy of old stories comes when readers rediscover them. Zemach's version of the tale about the woodcutter who frees an imp and gets three wishes has a contemporary touch for its old-fashioned settingthe man and woman work together as woodcutters to eke out their spare living. When they roll a tree off the tail of a trapped imp, he gives them the wishes and warns them to be wise. Despite all care, though, the man accidently wishes for sausages. In anger, the wife wishes that those sausages be on his nose. Finally, they must wish the sausages off; a fine sausage dinner repays them for their trouble. Zemach keeps her color palette natural, with sky blues and deep browns of the woods and cabin and a stone gray for the fire place; her sausages seem to sizzle and smoke off the page. It's a fetching edition of a favorite story, by one of our finest storytellers. (3-up)