cover image The Golden Heart of Winter

The Golden Heart of Winter

Marilyn Singer. Morrow Junior Books, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-07717-4

An elderly smithy sends his three sons on a quest, promising to name as his heir whoever brings back the most valuable object. Wasting no time, the sons--two loutish older ones and a dreamy younger one named ``Half'' by his brothers--set out. The ``something of value'' they seek turns out to be the Golden Heart of Winter--symbol of rebirth--buried long ago in a pact between Life and Death. The older brothers rip it from the earth and, in their ensuing fight, plunge the world into bitter winter. Half rescues it, of course, restoring spring, proving his own worth and uniting his family. Singer's ( Turtle in July ) formal, fluid style dovetails neatly with the story's mythlike elements, and the result is an original fairy tale in the grand tradition. Rayevsky ( The Talking Tree ; Belling the Cat and Other Aesop's Fables ) has given his singular, sharply etched illustrations a vaguely medieval setting that helps foster a mystical mood. Ages 6-up. (Aug.)