Such a Prince!

Dan Bar-el; John Man­ders, illus.
  • Review
By – March 14, 2012
This review­er was smil­ing from the first page to the last of this frac­tured fairy tale, Jew­ish style. Lib­by Gaborchick, fairy extra­or­di­naire, tells the sto­ry of how she cured the beau­ti­ful and exu­ber­ant Princess Vera of her sick­ness (lack of love). What was the pre­scrip­tion? Three per­fect peach­es, of course! The time-hon­ored sto­ry of three sons who try to woo the princess is fla­vored with Jew­ish ta’am” The two old­er sons, Shel­don and Har­vey, are rude, mus­cle­bound brutes, but the youngest, skin­ny Mar­vin, is the hero of this tale. How do we know he’s the hero? Sim­ple. He promis­es his moth­er he’ll bring her to live in the palace. As Lib­by says, Such a son. Couldn’t you just kiss him?” After Mar­vin pass­es three tests (involv­ing 100 rab­bits), the sto­ry ends hap­pi­ly. The zany, com­ic-strip-like illus­tra­tions in gouache and col­ored pen­cil fair­ly leap off the page. They’re filled with ener­gy, chang­ing per­spec­tives, and humor — a per­fect col­lab­o­ra­tion of word and art. Is this a Jew­ish book? On the sur­face, it is not; how­ev­er, the inflec­tions and cadence of the lan­guage imme­di­ate­ly evoke a Jew­ish tone and atti­tude: Vera is healthy, and the king and queen have less stress.” Dan Barel’s sto­ry­telling will appeal to young and old alike. Such a writer! Ages 5 – Adult.
Anne Dublin is the teacher-librar­i­an at Holy Blos­som Tem­ple in Toron­to, Cana­da and an award-win­ning author of books for chil­dren and young adults. Her lat­est book is June Call­wood: A Life of Action (Sec­ond Sto­ry Press, 2006).

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