cover image The Bremen Town Musicians

The Bremen Town Musicians

Wilhelm Grimm, Jacob W. Grimm. Scholastic, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-590-44795-9

The trademark lighthearted, somewhat cartoony watercolors by Wilhelm, himself a Bremen native, imbues this blithe retelling with a timeless, fairy-tale setting. A better choice for young readers than P. K. Page's version of the story (reviewed below), Wilhelm's ( Tyrone the Horrible ; I'll Always Love You ) book offers a shorter text, at once pithy and descriptive. The child-appealing prose is studded with such distinctive phrases as a depiction of the forlorn cat, whom the donkey and the dog find by the roadside, ``looking as dismal as three wet days.'' When the feisty quartet interrupts a group of robbers in a thatched-roof cottage counting their money as they enjoy a feast, observant readers will notice that these bad guys look quite a bit like the animals' former owners. This is just one of the quixotic twists that make Wilhelm's spirited rendition so refreshing. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)