cover image Iron John

Iron John

Eric A. Kimmel, Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm. Holiday House, $17.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1073-6

The duo that created Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins reunites for this Robert Bly-inspired retelling of a tale from the Brothers Grimm. A prince named Walter frees the wild man Iron John, caged by Walter's royal father, and joins him in the woods. There Walter grows to manhood, but when he fails the task set him by the wild man-to keep a spring unsullied-Iron John leaves him. At the same time, however, Iron John forgives Walter and provides magical assistance as he seeks his fortune, ultimately granting him his kingdom. Kimmel adapts much more freely than Marilee Heyer did in her recent version of this tale. Most significantly, he imposes an egalitarian ending, in which the prince marries a kindhearted garden girl who truly loves him, rather than a princess who had spurned him in his misfortunes. Hyman's expressive pastels move with ease from the dark power of the forest to the colorful pageantry of the court, contributing to the seamlessness of the presentation. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)