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Robin Muller.
Richmond Hill, ON: North Winds Press, 1984.
unpaged, cloth, $14.95.
ISBN 0-590-71411-2. Distributed by Scholastic-Tab Publications. CIP.

Kindergarten-grade 6 / Ages 5-11

Reviewed by Patricia Fry.

Volume 13 Number 3
1985 May

Do you ever grow weary of the sleeping beauties, the hard-scrubbing maidens, and the imprisoned damsels who dutifully wait for rescue by a charming prince? Do you ever wish that, occasionally, a fairy tale could focus on a competent female? Then add Tatterhood to your collection. This version, an exciting retelling of an old tale, is by Robin Muller, a Canadian artist whose first children's book was the award-winning Mollie Whuppie and the Giant ¹.

Tatterhood is a wild and willful child, just the opposite of her quiet pretty sister, Belinda. When a pack of evil witches invades their home, it is Tatterhood who battles the witches and who determines to save Belinda after they cast their black spell upon her. Although Tatterhood is the despair of her mother, she is adored and followed everywhere by her younger sister. Prince Galen is the only other person who has the vision to see beyond appearances and who admires Tatterhood's spirit.

Tatterhood's witch-slaying adventures make for a plot-heavy narrative that will enthrall the most skeptical listener. The colourful and finely-detailed illustrations give the dramatic story a visual poignancy. It is an excellent choice to read aloud to a group or to recommend for a lone child to curl up and read.

Tatterhood is an unusually modern heroine set in an ancient fairy tale. There are more like her, Manka, clever Gretchen, Kate Crackernuts, to name only a few, but they are buried in anthologies, rather than in an appealing package such as this book. Maybe Muller will retell and illustrate some of them too. If he does, I will line up to buy. Highly recommended for fairy-tale lovers of all ages, particularly those in grades 1 to 6.

Patricia Fry, Toronto, ON.

¹ Reviewed vol. Xl/3 May 1983, p.112.

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