cover image The Quiltmaker's Gift

The Quiltmaker's Gift

Jeff Brumbeau. Pfeifer-Hamilton Publishers, $17.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-1-57025-199-3

As intricately worked as a patchwork quilt, de Marcken's (Born to Pull) fanciful watercolors are the highlight of this somewhat pedestrian fable. Rich but dissatisfied, a king demands a quilt from a gifted quiltmaker, but she refuses unless he gives away all his material possessions. The irate monarch twice attempts to punish her but both times she foils him. Finally he agrees to her demand, growing progressively happier with each thing that he gives away. Brumbeau's overlong tale treads a well-worn trail here, hampered by bursts of overwrought prose (""the king's great sunny laugh made green apples fall and flowers turn his way""). The artwork achieves a dizzying, quilted look with lush full-page illustrations in cotton-candy colors sharing a spread with saucy vignettes; ""the king could not sleep"" for instance, inspires a droll four-panel peek at the restless fellow tossing and turning in bed. De Marcken pays homage at every turn to the quiltmaker's craft. Each section of text appears on a plain cream ""block"" with stitching around the edges, and the endpapers sport an array of labeled quilt patterns. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)