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Martin, Rafe
Illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka Richmond Hill (Ont.), North Winds Press, 1993. 38pp, laminated boards, $15.95
ISBN 0-590-74306-6. Distributed by Scholastic Canada. CIP

Kindergarten to Grade 6/Ages 5 to 11

Reviewed by Pat Butler

Volume 21 Number 6
1993 November

This is based on a hybrid story of the same name in Italo Calvino's 1956 Italian Folktales (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980). It opens with a king's angry assertion that his three daughters don't love him a "test of love"! The third daughter, Zizola, answers that he is as dear as salt to her, to which he furiously responds by ordering her to her death. Her mother protects her by hiding her in a giant candlestick and instructing her servants to sell it to someone kind and generous.

A prince buys the candlestick and places it in his room. Meals mysteriously vanish and the prince, in hiding to discover the reason, meets and falls in love with Zizola, who is, of course, beautiful. At their wedding feast, the unwitting father is fooled into discovering exactly how dear salt can be and he is reunited happily with his daughter.

This tale of the utter foolishness of a father's demands and actions and the daughter's solution to her problem is retold using contemporary language (and foods!), thereby making it accessible to a group with whom some interesting discussions could be generated.

The illustrations are wispy, colourful depictions of the story-line. The book could be used in both a group and a one-on-one setting and will appeal mainly to the group of readers who have had some experience with, and have enjoyed, longer folk-tales.

Pat Butler is a freelance librarian in Vancouver, British Columbia
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