cover image Branta and the Golden Stone

Branta and the Golden Stone

Walter Wangerin, Jr.. Simon & Schuster, $16 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-671-79693-8

In this resonant work from the pair who collaborated on Elisabeth and the Water-Troll , the depth and richness of Wangerin's text is deftly matched by Healy's dynamic oil paintings. Branta is a girl who lives alone in a cottage on a lake ``on the northernmost island in all the world.'' She remembers her father, a magus, who on his deathbed gave Branta his most prized possession: the Golden Stone that he had taken as a gift to a Baby King born long before in a distant kingdom. When this Child touched the stone, He left a deep print and the stone was imbued with the power to make people ``whatever they wanted to be.'' Rather than leave his gift, Branta's father slipped it back into his pouch, and for years used its magic--to good and ill effect. Frustrated when she cannot lure a family of geese indoors to save them from a fierce winter storm, Branta calls on the power of the Golden Stone to change herself into one of them, bringing this graceful, timeless tale to an inventive close. Ages 4-8. ( Sept. )