Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Picture Books - Clever Katya

Mary Hoffman is known for many of her literary children's works, and I first became familiar with her through Amazing Grace and its subsequent series. However, at a recent SecondHand Prose Booksale, put on by the local library system, I happened upon her fairy tale Clever Katya, A Fairy Tale From Old Russia. The beautiful illustrations and vibrant color is what first drew my attention. At these sales besides being a literal mob of people wading through the vast number of withdrawn library books, the children's section is usually cramped and difficult to traverse. So, one of the ways I try to select is by eye catching dust jackets (it beats pushing and shoving).

Clever Katya is a charming tale of two brothers, a daughter, a foal, and a Tsar. As with most fairy tales this one too provides a moral compass and involves greed and poverty. The tale begins with a rich brother giving the poor brother a mare. With no land to keep the horse the rich brother allowed the poor brother to keep the mare with his own horses. As a result of this, the mare produces a foal that the brothers then argue over who it belongs too. To settle the matter they go to the market where the town's judges are to resolve the issue, but instead the reigning Tsar is filling in for the day. The Tsar has a sense of humor and gives them a riddle to solve and whoever solves it correctly gets to keep the foal. To find an answer to the riddle the rich brother consults a neighbor lady and the poor brother his very wise for her age seven-year-old daughter, Katya. What the riddle is and its answer make for an interesting and humorous tale. The colorful and intricate illustrations really add to the enjoyment.

Although this particular copy of the book was in the library book sale, the system still maintains a few other copies and it can still be purchased online. Don't let a little withdrawal in my local system influence your looking for it.



Anonymous Molly said...

Uh-oh, where is the nice blue PJ-designed heart? The stack of books looks nice too and certainly is appropriate.

1:11 AM  
Blogger PJ Librarian said...

It is in redesign mode. This one was a sketch I discovered. So, I put some color to it and just trying it out for now. Working on something a little different for later.

2:06 PM  

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