This tale from Grimm -- far less familiar than many of the others -- has been given a brisk retelling by Natalie Babbitt and witty, spectacular, sumptuous pictures by Fred Marcellino. The story tells all about young Marco, who leads a charmed life if anyone ever did, starting off as nobody special and ending up king. Not that it's an easy path, the most dangerous part being an errand that takes him down into Hell. But thanks to the Devil's grandmother, as good an old girl as grandmothers everywhere, it all comes right in the end.
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Natalie Babbitt is the author/illustrator of thirteen books for children, including Tuck Everlasting, The Devils Storybook, and The Eyes of the Amaryllis, all of them ALA Notable Childrens Books, and Kneeknock Rise, a Newbery Honor Book. She lives in Providence, RI.Fred Marcellinos previous picture books are Puss in Boots, a Caldecott Honor Book; The Steadfast Tin Soldier, an ALA Booklist Childrens Editors Choice; The Pelican Chorus, one of School Library Journals Best Books of the Year; and The Story of Little Babaji, an ALA Notable Childrens Book. He lives in New York City.
Fred Marcellino's picture books include Puss in Boots, a Caldecott Honor Book; The Steadfast Tin Soldier, an ALA Booklist Children's Editors' Choice; and The Pelican Chorus, one of School Library Journal's Best Books of the Year.
His most recent books, The Story of Little Babaji and Ouch! are both ALA Notable Children's Books.
Dancing By the Light of the Moon: The Art of Fred Marcellino will open on November 9, 2002 and run through January 26, 2003 at The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. This is a comprehensive show of more than 150 pieces highlighting his children's book career, and the first museum retrospective honoring the artistic accomplishments of this remarkable artist. For more information visit, The Norman Rockwell Museum website.From Publishers Weekly:
In this abbreviated version of the Grimms' "The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs," a crown-shaped birthmark heralds a boy's bright future. Based on this omen, a fortuneteller predicts that Marco will marry a princess, and this comes to pass in short order: "So the two were married, with plenty of joy and noise, and that should have been the end of it. But it wasn't." The youth still must placate his evil father-in-law, the king, who demands three golden hairs from the head of the Devil. Marco ventures forth to Hell, where he meets the Devil's impish grandmother, who agrees to yank the three hairs. ("Ouch!" is the Devil's exclamation as she does the deed.) Thus, he keeps the princess, and then exacts revenge on the king. Babbitt (Bub) rewrites the classic story in a casual voice infused with wry wit, paring it down to its essentials (e.g., leaving out the magical golden apples and wine-flowing fountain), while Marcellino (The Story of Little Babaji) paints the characters in picturesque Renaissance-era garb. He constructs scenes of architectural grandeur: readers become spectators at the wedding, looking up at the starry ceiling, and stand alongside the newly married prince at the steps of Hell, which appears as a desolate castle with firelit bricks and oversize wooden furniture. The Devil himself is a slim, none-too-threatening figure in a red unitard decorated with ruffles at the wrist. The inventive layout, based on a rectangular grid, features creatively cropped and overlapping color images and blocky text. Although things come together a bit too easily in this Grimm tale, readers will likely lap up Babbitt's intelligent retelling, mixed with a dash of sly humor and dressed in Marcellino's signature finery. All ages.
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