cover image THE BOLD BOY


Malachy Doyle, , illus. by Jane Ray. . Candlewick, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-1624-3

This original folktale about a cheeky child's comeuppance has all the brio of a joyful jig. When a boy happens upon a small green pea in the countryside, he knows just how to parlay the pea into a substantially better lot. The bold boy gives an old woman the pea for safekeeping. But when he returns to claim his little legume, the boy discovers that the woman's hen has eaten it. "You ate my pea so now you're mine, for that's the law where I come from!" the boy declares as he makes off with the hen. He tries the same approach, asking an old man to safeguard the hen, and eventually acquires first a pig, then a donkey, until one smart girl catches the bold boy at his game. With its old-world tone, featuring the boisterous, oft-repeated phrase "Naughty, naughty!" Doyle's (Jody's Beans) snappy tale will likely hold much appeal for the read-aloud crowd. In straightforward, playful scenes—a departure from her typically complex compositions—Ray's (Fairy Tales) mixed-media artwork dazzles with signature zippy gold-paint accents and folk-art motifs. Lush green hills dotted with quaint cottages, a vibrantly plumed hen and a plump pink porker are a few of the memorable images here. Ages 3-up. (Nov.)