cover image Tam Lin

Tam Lin

Susan Cooper, Warwick Hutton, Tam Cooper. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-50505-8

With this Scottish ballad, these collaborators present the third episode of their Celtic trilogy, following The Selkie Girl and The Silver Cow . In Cooper's able hands, the story of how Margaret, a fiery-spirited Scottish princess, saves Tam Lin, a handsome young knight, from the clutches of the Elfin Queen, is molded into captivating shape. Cooper (The Dark is Rising sequence) paces the tale well, deftly building to the climactic, magical struggle between Margaret and the Elfin Queen in which Margaret's tenacity--much bemoaned by all the ladies in the castle--carries the day. Unfortunately, Hutton's watercolors are not on a par with Cooper's superb prose. His images here are less distinct than usual, the lines of the figures are awkward and their faces are nondescript. Compared to the dramatic, boldly defined paintings of Charles Mikolaycak in Jane Yolen's recent retelling, this is bland stuff indeed. Even so, the stirring text makes this version a good choice for reading aloud. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)