cover image Iron Hans

Iron Hans

Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm, Jacob W. Grimm. Viking Children's Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-81741-2

This elaborate pageant is sparked by a Grimm tale not often seen in picture-book form. A king's son fails in a task set for him by the wild man Iron Hans, who exiles the boy from his forest home with a promise to come to his aid when called. Though disguised as a gardener's boy, the prince woos and wins a princess, thanks to Iron Hans's magical help and his own fully developed virtue. Heyer ( The Weaving of a Dream ) illustrates this symbolic story with luxuriously detailed, dreamlike tableaux. Distinctive, meticulously drawn borders (often featuring what seems to be marbelized paper) first appear as a frame for the text. In the wordless double-page spreads that alternate with the narrative, the decorative borders reappear as a setting for large-scale pencil illustrations. These frames echo the story's subject matter, becoming increasingly elaborate and culminating with a pair of organ-playing angels that flank the prince's triumphant wedding. All ages. (Oct.)