cover image The Singing Ringing Tree

The Singing Ringing Tree

Selina Hastings. Henry Holt & Company, $13.95 (25pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-0573-8

This tale, credited as possibly taken from Slavic folklore, reveals the fate of a prince who has the misfortune to fall in love with a beautiful, scornful princess. Although he succeeds in fulfilling her request to bring her the Singing Ringing Tree, she breaks her promise to marry him. A dwarf who had bet on that outcome imprisons the would-be lovers in his land: the prince becomes a bear and the princess grows ugly. She is cured of her selfishness by the bear's unfailing kindness, and when she declares her love for him, the dwarf's spell is broken. Brierley's elongated figures and angular perspectives create an eccentric elegance for Hastings's haunting, gentle telling. Less familiar than many of its fairy tale cousins, The Singing Ringing Tree is a beautiful old story, of apocalyptic events measured against the redemptive power of love. Ages 5-8. (October)