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Bishop, Carroll Atwater.

Illustrated by Anna Maria Grunda. Toronto, Temenos Productions, c1984. 36pp, cloth, $12.95, ISBN 0-920189-00-8. Distributed by Temenos Productions, Box -687, Station Q, Toronto, Ont., M4T 2N5. CIP

Grades 1-4
Reviewed by Anna L. Holman

Volume 13 Number 1
1985 January

Librarians will be interested to know that the author of this book is the daughter of Richard and Florence Atwater who wrote Mr. Popper's Penguins. Carroll Atwater Bishop majored in English literature and elementary education at the University of Chicago. She is now living in Toronto. Other writings include Love on a Plate: The Willow Pattern and God's Daughter and God's Son.

"The Devil's Diamond" was first told at a storytellers' group in Toronto and was performed as a Christmas ballet in 1981 and 1982. It has been described accurately as a "deceptively simple fairy tale," a "delightful morality tale" and a "haunting tale of family love."

The story is about a princess who lives in a happy kingdom where it is the custom on children's birthdays for the children to give gifts to their parents. Princess Sally is persuaded by the devil, disguised as a monk, to accept an enchanted diamond to present to her father and mother. The diamond casts a spell on the King and Queen, and the kingdom falls into ruin.

Princess Sally sets out on a quest to find help for her parents. With the aid of a blind shepherd boy, she is led to a stable where a baby h'es sleeping among the animals. In the end, love redeems everyone including the devil.

This lovely, gentle story can be enjoyed by all age groups: children will like the simple story told with humour, and adults will appreciate the subtlety of the deeper meaning. It should prove an ideal Christmas story for reading aloud to young audiences and could be adapted for presentation, as a pageant or short play in schools and Sunday schools. The exquisite black-and-white illustrations by Anna Maria Gruda perfectly complement the mood of the story.

Anna L. Holman, Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario, London, Ont.
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