cover image Give and Take

Give and Take

Chris Raschka. S&S/Atheneum/Jackson, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-1655-0

Two strong-willed elves harry a farmer in this pitch-perfect folktale by Caldecott Medalist Raschka. While harvesting apples, the farmer meets Take, “a tiny little man” dressed in black. The farmer heeds Take’s advice to “take as much as we can,” trades all his apples for pumpkins, and ends up with “gallons of pumpkin soup.” The next day, he sends Take away and meets Give, another Rumpelstiltskin lookalike dressed all in white. “Give away everything you have,” Give orders. Unfortunately, once the farmer dispenses with his opinions and his apples, he goes home alone and hungry. On the third day, the man balances Give and Take’s input, resulting in an apple pie for all to share. Raschka illustrates in wide strokes and swoops of India ink, daubed with jewel-toned watercolors, for a rustic, handcrafted feel. Give and Take recall a classic angel-and-devil duo (or Spy vs. Spy), but neither is all good or bad. This isn’t a flashy story, but one whose wisdom flows naturally from a well-structured setup amid dashes of visual and verbal humor. Ages 4–8. [em]Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Sept.) [/em]