cover image One Eye, Two Eyes, Three Eyes: A Hutzul Tale

One Eye, Two Eyes, Three Eyes: A Hutzul Tale

Eric A. Kimmel. Holiday House, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1183-2

This flavorsome folktale, first told to Kimmel by his grandmother, comes from the Hutzuls, here identified as a Ukrainian-speaking ethnic group living in the Carpathian mountains. As the result of a vow her father makes without forethought, Larissa, a Hutzul girl, becomes the slave of a three-eyed witch and her daughters, One Eye and Two Eyes. The elder, Kimmel explains, ""had one eye in the middle of her forehead. The younger had two: one on top of the other."" The two think they are ""the loveliest creatures on earth."" With the aid of a magical goat, Larissa is finally freed and marries a prince, while the witches are presumably turned into three black stones. It is a good, old-fashioned tale that is told with clarity and wit. Zimmer (Tsugele's Broom; Some Fine Grandpa!) has a field day with the appealingly grotesque witches, rendering their strange faces and clunky bodies with his characteristically fine lines. Carefully patterned fields of color and multihued cross-hatching raise the energy level, keeping the proceedings fast and funny. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)