cover image Robert D. San Souci's the Six Swans

Robert D. San Souci's the Six Swans

Jacob W. Grimm. Simon & Schuster, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-65848-9

This tale of enchantment and the power of selfless love from the Brothers Grimm is about a sister whose sacrifice breaks an evil spell that has turned her brothers into swans. Only by forsaking laughter and speech while carrying out the painstaking task of sewing shirts from tiny blossoms can she restore them to their human forms. Her constancy eventually prevails. Both telling and illustrations are graceful and elegant, and yet there is an emotional flatness to both. Neither the stepmother's hatred of the boys nor their sister's devotion is strongly rendered; consequently, both good and evil lack the contours needed to make their contest truly compelling. Ages 4-8. (May)