cover image The Enchanted Tapestry

The Enchanted Tapestry

Robert D. San Souci. Dial Books, $11.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0304-9

This is a perfect marriage of tale and art. Skillful and immediate, the text retells a Chinese story of a poor weaver woman with three sons, two selfish and one loving. When her most precious handmade tapestry is blown away on a magical wind, two sons grieve over the lost sale value, and the third grieves with her simply because it was hers. One by one, she sends her sons to retrieve it, but a sorceress waylays the first two with gold. The third son succeeds, despite icy rivers and walls of fire. The tapestry then becomes real, and mother and son enter its paradise-like world, while the two greedy sons return as beggars in the end. Here are elements of so many tales, Western and Chinese: the magical quest, sheer visual poetry and the contrast of love and greed. The pace and clarity of the narrative support the length, and Gal's art will engage even a very young child's interest. A beautiful book. Ages 4-8. (March)