CM . . . .
Volume VII Number 18 . . . . May 11, 2001
"Quiet in the court," said the Chief, and he looked serious. "Stone, what village are you from?" he asked.Based on a folktale found throughout Asia and South America, this absurd tale will amuse and delight children of all ages. Young Matt sets out on an overnight trip to his grandfather's, and, when night falls, he places his money beneath a stone for safekeeping. His cries on discovering the money gone next morning rouse the nearby villagers. The Chief, to the amazement of all, places the stone on trial. Despite its steadfast refusal to provide answers, the stone's silence is the means by which Matt's misfortune is reversed and the sly thief gets his just reward.
Stephane Jorisch's translucent watercolour and gouache illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to this farcical tale. Using body language and a minimum of facial features, he adroitly expresses the pomposity of the village chief imperiously demanding answers from a stone; the nonchalance of the lounging thief; the helpless mirth of the villagers during the trial; and their disgruntled compliance to paying the fine at its conclusion. All these responses serve to amplify the understated humour of the text.
A worthy addition to any folktale collection, this comic collaboration begs to be shared with children, whose inherent sense of justice will be deliciously vindicated.
Alison Mews is the Head of the Curriculum Materials Centre, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of NF, St. John's, NF.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.