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Robin Muller.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 1985.
30pp., cloth, $12.95.
ISBN 0-919964-80-X. CIP.

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10

Reviewed by Adele M. Fasick.

Volume 14 Number 2
1986 March

A tale of innocence overcoming chilling evil has a perennial appeal, and Robin Muller tells this classic story in dramatic style. A brave young orphan boy, although apparently weak and helpless, outwits the plotting of his evil master, a sorcerer intent on tormenting the people who have rejected his offer to be their king. With the help of a gentle white dove imprisoned by the sorcerer, the boy learns to turn the sorcerer's magic against him and finally to destroy him. The dove is revealed to be the princess who rightfully inherits the kingdom, which she and the orphan will now share. Although this story has been told many times before from Goethe to Walt Disney's version, this retelling is one of the best. Full-page, detailed, colour illustrations complement the vivid text. We see the strain in the apprentice's face as he struggles to master the spells that will help him to defeat the sorcerer's evil magic. When his hard work is rewarded, we see the monster conjured up by the sorcerer dissolve in a vortex of swirling bubbles. After the sorcerer perishes, the last two pictures of the book reveal a beautiful new world as we watch the dove transformed once more into a lovely princess. In the final illustration, the happy couple stand in a fresh green field with a lamb and bluebird to share the beginning of their new life together. We close the book in contentment as goodness once more overcomes the terror of chaos. Adults and children will enjoy sharing this book.

Adele M. Fasick, Faculty of Library and Information Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
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