cover image The Stone Lion

The Stone Lion

Alan Schroeder. Scribner Book Company, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-684-19578-0

Schroeder's ( Ragtime Tumpie ) atmospheric rendering of a traditional Tibetan tale receives sumptous illustrations from newcomer Doney, whose paintings shimmer with golden light and icy mountain peaks. An allegory about greed, the story tells of Drashi and Jarlo, two brothers who in turn encounter an imposing stone lion at the top of a mountain. In the manner of the Perrault classic, ``Diamonds and Toads,'' the lion fills the reverent Drashi's bucket with gold and silver coins, but punishes the avaricious, grasping Jarlo; unlike its French counterpart (in which the wicked sibling is permanently disgraced), however, the Tibetan legend ends on a redemptive note. Fortifying the authenticity of his retelling, Schroeder comfortably and convincingly incorporates regional details (to show that Drashi is ``good-hearted,'' for example, the author explains that ``he was never too busy to fill the water kang for a neighbor or help his mother pound barley at the bread trough''). Doney's softly focused representational art captures both the majesty of the mountainous land and the intimacy of the characters' exchanges. A welcome addition to the current crop of multicultural tales. Ages 6-8. (Mar.)