cover image The Merry Pranks of Till Eulenspiegel

The Merry Pranks of Till Eulenspiegel

Heinz Janisch. Picture Book Studio Ltd, $15.95 (22pp) ISBN 978-0-88708-150-7

Hans Christian Andersen Medalist Zwerger cunningly illustrates 11 folktales about the famous German prankster--from Till's triple dunking at his baptism, to his funeral, at which he leaves a last trick for his mourners. Both art and text are distinctly quaint and European. Although the stories are told colloquially, as if by a villager who knew Eulenspiegel well, there is a forced merriment to the narrator's intrusions: `` `What a crazy fellow!' '' folks say when they hear of Till's merry pranks.'' he too frequently tells the reader. However, Zwerger's bright paintings, bordered by gaily patterned, thin ribbons, are tightly designed and populated by a rich panoply of German peasants and kings, who laugh with Eulenspiegel even as they are being duped. Ages 5-up. (Oct.)