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Robin Muller.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 1987.
unpaged, paperbound boards, $10.95.
ISBN 0-921103-07-7. CIP.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9

Reviewed by Joan Weller.

Volume 16 Number 3
1988 May

Author-illustrator Robin Muller's tale is based on the Joseph Jacob nineteenth century Irish folk-tale, The Hedley Kow. Muller's adaptation was inspired by the Ethel Johnston Phelps retelling, which appeared in the collection entitled Tatterhood and Other Tales (Feminist Press, 1978). Muller's text moves along at a brisk pace and, as a folk-tale should. it lends itself well to being read aloud. It tells of a poor but exuberant old lady who is unknowingly tricked by a goblin known as Grumpleteaser. One night, on her way home, she comes upon a strange pot in the grass. During her journey home the pot changes into a pot of gold, a lump of silver, a piece of iron and finally a stone.

As the cumulative tale continues, the lady imagines the rewards her find will bring her. The artist transforms her longings into humorous and brightly coloured pictures. Touched with the colour gold throughout, they succeed in capturing the lightheartedness of the story. True to the folk-tale tradition, the lady's wishes are denied her at first until she sets aside her greedy aspirations and replaces them once more with her cheerful and kind nature. The golden glow of the pictures responds to the glow of a story worth the telling.

Joan Weller, Ottawa Public Library, Ottawa, ON.
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