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Gal, Laszlo
Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1991. 40pp, cloth, $17.95
ISBN 0-7710-3300-1. CIP

Subject Heading:

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9

Reviewed by Marion Scott

Volume 20 Number 3
May 1992

The classic Russian tale of Prince Ivan's quest for the elusive firebird, his triumph over his jealous brothers, and his winning of a beautiful princess is ably retold and illustrated by Laszlo Gal.

Gal is an award-winning illustrator who has successfully illustrated a wide variety of folk-and fairy-tales, most notably The Little Mermaid,1 The Twelve Dancing Princesses,2 and Canadian Fairy Tales.3

As a reteller, Gal proves to be fluent and sure. He follows the original tale closely. He occasionally adds motivation for Ivan, but this is not gratuitous and serves to make the story a little more cohesive. The illustrations are generally attractive and appealing. Beautifully rendered details of architecture and costume convey both the flavour of the Russian setting and a touch of fantasy. Gal also makes effective use of orange, red and ochre tones in conveying the story's theme. Where the artwork does disappoint slightly is in its slightly static quality and rather bland faces. These, however, are minor quibbles.

All in all, this is a good version of a fascinating tale that is not widely available in quality picture-book editions. A welcome edition to core collections in both school and public libraries.

Marion Scott, Toronto Public Library, Toronto, Ont.

1 Reviewed vol. XII/4 July 1984, p. 155.
2 Reviewed vol. VIII/2 Spring 1980, p. 126.
3 Reviewed vol. XIII/2 March 1985, p. 71.

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1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


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