cover image The White Cat: An Old French Fairy Tale

The White Cat: An Old French Fairy Tale

Gennady Spirin, Robert D. San Souci. Orchard Books (NY), $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05809-1

With this collaboration, San Souci and Spirin prove that gifted and loving hands can make old tales gloriously new again. Credited to Madame d'Aulnoy and first published in 1698, The White Cat contains many familiar (and well-loved) fairy-tale elements. Three brothers set out on separate quests, each hoping to please his royal father best and so win the kingdom. The youngest son is kind to a cat who turns out to have been a bewitched queen. She helps her beloved win the contest, the spell is broken and the two live happily ever after. San Souci's retelling is suitably magical and mysterious, and his words flow like music. Spirin's sumptuous paintings, each abounding with meticulous detail from foreground to furthest distance, glow with light and expression. Surely Madame d'Aulnoy would be pleased. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)