cover image East O' the Sun and West O' the Moon

East O' the Sun and West O' the Moon

Peter Christen Asbjornsen, Jorgen Moe, Naomi Lewis. Candlewick Press (MA), $16.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-049-9

This expansively illustrated edition of a well-loved epic romance, told here in Sir George Webbe Dasent's 1859 translation from the Norwegian, has lost none of its Gothic beauty and irresistible power. Dasent's translation is a real page-turner, told in a relaxed, conversational style that manages to be at once soothing and suspenseful. Readers will follow eagerly the plight of the beautiful, unnamed lassie, who must travel to a far-off kingdom to rescue her beloved prince from the clutches of an evil--and very ugly--bride. Only a rather swift resolution sounds a slightly jarring note in the otherwise engrossing tale. Lynch's sweeping paintings in dark greens and browns, with their large close-ups and exciting shifts in perspective, expertly capture the story's heroic scale. Several spreads are especially noteworthy: the dizzying bird's-eye-view of the heroine and her bear, dwarfed by the palace's massive architecture; the North Wind, rising from the mists like a bearded Old Testament patriarch, carrying the speck of a girl on his back as the seas roil below. The book's lavish endpapers, in the style of an Old World cartographer, point the way to this enticing kingdom east o' the sun and west o' the moon. Ages 4-up. (Oct.)