cover image Mysterious Tale Gent

Mysterious Tale Gent

George Sand. Dial Books, $14.95 (74pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0538-8

Loving and kind, Gentle Jack is scorned by his family; knowing this, the mysterious Lord Bumblebee tries to tempt Jack into living with him. His plans for the boy include convincing him to discard compassion and honesty in order to become a warring bumblebee. Gentle Jack's godmother, by the power of the fairies, wages war on the evil Lord Bumblebee; when he is about to become a pawn in the battle, Jack flings himself on a pyre and dies nobly. Spirin's art treats the French writer's tale with reverencealthough the bees's clothing may be courtly in their half-human incarnations, the battle scene is an fierce piece of staging. Sand's story, encompassing both quest and fable themes, is illuminated by the artist's magnificent borders, page decorations and floral motifs. The personalities of the characters are in full evidence in the paintings: from the moment readers see the round, doltish faces of Gentle Jack's siblings and his own refined features, they will know that he has been chosen for a very spe cial task. All ages. (September)