cover image Rip Van Winkle

Rip Van Winkle

Thomas Locker, Washington Irving. Dial Books, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0520-3

From Locker comes a set of paintings that, like The Boy Who Held Back the Sea , elegantly recall old Dutch masters. Rip Van Winkle, of course, is enchanted by the brew he drinks with a band of men playing ninepins in the Catskills, sleeps, and wakes up to find that he is an old man and the world has gone on without him. The telling succeeds in stressing Rip's idleness around his own house while doing good works for others, Dame Van Winkle's constant harping and the mystery surrounding the mountain men, said to be Henry Hudson's crew. However, most of the humor of the story has been stricken from this version, and the interaction of charactersnotably in two successive illustrations regarding Dame Van Winkleis passed over in favor of more posed events. Locker, who has often placed the people of his pictures as tiny figures on vast landscapes, focuses on the human aspects of the story, yet sweepingly captures the majesty of the mountains. A quiet beauty permeates this book, to be appreciated by thoughtful readers. All ages. (September)