cover image Prince Ivan and the Firebird

Prince Ivan and the Firebird

Cherry Gilchrist. Shambhala Publications, $16 (31pp) ISBN 978-1-56957-920-6

Artwork as vivid and ornate as a Faberge egg, combined with a smooth-as-silk text, keep this from becoming just another retelling of a classic tale. Gilchrist draws on 19th-century Russian writer Afanasiev's version for her elegant rendition, maintaining his dark undertones in this story of sibling treachery and mystical adventure. Artist Troshkov accentuates these themes, using a midnight-hued canvas for his distinctly Russian, intensely colored illustrations. In the end, of course, all is well: Prince Ivan is brought back to life after his jealous brothers murder him; he wins the hand of the beauteous Princess Helen the Fair; he regains the Horse with the Golden Mane; and he lives happily ever after to boot. Though lengthy, Gilchrist's version is fluid and compelling. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)