cover image Fisherman & His Wife

Fisherman & His Wife

Rizzoli, Laurinda Spear. Rizzoli International Publications, $17.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-1370-4

Perhaps it was the succession of buildings--from hut to palace--for which the fisherman wishes that lured this architect into children's book illustration. The story varies only slightly from the original. A fisherman in a motorboat hooks a dolphin, returns it to the sea and then, as in Grimm, is goaded by his wife into making a series of increasingly greedy wishes. They wind up back in their hut when she wants to be ``as God is''; an airplane towing the word ``humble'' hammers the meaning home. This heavy-handed comment is typical of Spear's humorless approach in her color-pencil illustrations. Uninviting but eye-catching buildings and interiors further reveal that she can effectively render perspectives, but not people. For a better version, turn to the Randall Jarrell translation, filled with Margot Zemach's spirited art. Ages 5-9. (Dec.)