cover image The Fisherman and His Wife

The Fisherman and His Wife

John Warren Stewig. Holiday House, $13.95 (16pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-0714-9

The tale of the poor fisherman and his greedy wife is a classic that was first recorded by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. When the fisherman lets an enchanted flounder he has caught escape, his demanding wife makes him get the fish back. The fish grants her selfish wishes for more elaborate homes until the last, when she is back in a hovel again. Sewig's retelling, while adequate, is too wordy. It lacks the necessary terseness found in The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales. But the muted illustrations by Tomes ( Little Jewel Box ), in which browns, grey-blues and white predominate, more fully capture the sparseness and impact of the original tale, and compensate for the lackluster text. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)