cover image The Maiden on the Moor

The Maiden on the Moor

Marilyn Singer. Morrow Junior Books, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-08674-9

Embroidering upon a medieval English verse, Singer (The Painted Fan; The Golden Heart of Winter) turns out a finely wrought fairy tale. Two shepherd brothers, the elder married and prosperous, the younger alone and poor, find a dark-haired maiden lying unconscious on the moor in the dead of winter. The elder shuns her, but the younger takes her to his cottage and, for seven days and nights, takes care of her. On the last night, while the younger brother sleeps, the maiden finally awakens and sets in motion various plans to ensure that each brother will receive his just deserts. And then she slips away, assuming the form of a snow goose. Howell's (The Ugly Duckling) misty colored-pencil drawings of the bleak moor, the young shepherd's rustic cottage and the maiden's surprising transformation are suitably romantic but lack sufficient momentum to convey the full drama of this story. Ages 6-up. (Apr.)