cover image Amzat & His Brothers

Amzat & His Brothers

Paula Fox, Emily Arnold McCully, Charles Fox. Scholastic, $16.95 (67pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05462-8

Newbery Medalist Fox notes in her preface that these folktales were relayed to her by Vecchi, a friend who grew up in a mountain town near Bologna. Gracefully transferring the spoken word to the printed page, Fox incorporates into her narrative lively details, analogies and similes (a large white ewe weeps ``tears as big as pearls''). In the title story, two greedy brothers get their just deserts after trying to steal the home that is their younger sibling's birthright. Curiously, the division between bad and good is muddied when the youngest takes advantage of an innocent shepherd in order to best his nasty brothers. Less distinctive are the other tales, one of which echoes The Bremen Town Musicians . In the third, luck brings a poor woman and her dim-witted son a cache of gold that changes their lives. Those familiar with the impressive work of McCully, the 1993 Caldecott Medalist, may be disappointed by her sketchy black-and-white drawings--though their simplified flair adds to the overall folksy tone. Ages 8-10. (Apr.)