cover image The Wedding of Mistress Fox

The Wedding of Mistress Fox

Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm, Philip H. Bailey, G. Bishop. NorthSouth, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-1-55858-335-1

Modifying one of the Grimm Brothers' classics, first-time author Bailey preserves its 19th-century mood and mores. Likewise, Bishop's (Chicken Licken) shadowy, cross-hatched ink-and-watercolor illustrations return to an earlier era, depicting a mansion decorated to excess and populated by animals in Dickensian garb. In the original, Mistress Fox's husband feigns death, then punishes her for courting; once he truly meets his maker, his wife marries another fox. This volume finds Mistress Fox in mourning while Miss Kitty, her maid, greets suitors downstairs. A wolf, a dog, a hare and a bear are rejected; apples on the trees, then snowflakes indicate the passing seasons. Only with the arrival of Master Fox, a mirror image of the fellow whose portraits dominates the house's foyer, do the gray overtones of Bishop's subtle spreads give way to pink-and-gold springtime hues. Bailey preserves the original story's combination of couplets, unrhymed prose and onomatopoeia. The old-fashioned formalities are well-matched by the artwork, notable for its architectural details. Ages 5-8. (Nov.)