Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were German professors, best known for publishing collections of folk tales and fairy tales, and for their work in linguistics. Anastasiya Archipova works in Moscow as an illustrator. She has illustrated many children's books including Favourite Grimm's Tales.
K-Gr 4 The appealing illustrations in this large picture book portray a rural setting with obvious affection. There is a gentleness to many of them, but they can be excitingly dramatic when the subject warrants it. There are details to catch the eye of a child, but never any clutter. These are the most attractive illustrations provided for the tale in recent years, and of real appeal to children. It is, therefore, unfortunate that Watts presents a truncated version of the story with passages deleted, and bland, generalized language substituted for the specific, more exciting text of more complete translations. (Instead of the girls being sent to town to buy needles, thread, laces, and ribbons, they go for ``provisions.'') Like some other picture book versions, this one deletes the incident in which the girls spend the night in the forest and see a being whom their mother later identifies as the angel who watches over good children. Are religious references taboo in literature for today's children? Those wanting only a charming, pretty picture book may be satisfied with this book; those insisting on the best literary experience will not. Ronald A. Van De Voorde, Graduate Library School, University of Arizona, Tucson
Every detail of this intricately illustrated volume seems to extol the triumph of beauty and purity, as symbolized by the lovely, fragile rose. Floral garlands adorn the book inside and out, and heart-shaped rosette wreaths frame each page number. Romping blissfully through the flora, the eponymous sisters exhibit a cherubic innocence, their chubby cheeks and rounded bodies suffused in a soft glow. In contrast the woeful bear embodies a feral shagginess, evoking the ursine images from Spirin's Once There Was a Tree. As with this artist's previous fairy tale interpretations, the superbly executed paintings enhance the story's grandeur; at times, however, the effect is somewhat diminished by the characters' frozen, china-doll expressions. This enduring tale distinguishes between the personalities of the two girls but, happily, makes no judgments. The book's handsome design adds to its Old World allure: text and art are set forth in ruled, arch-shaped borders, while Spirin's colorations suggest medieval tapestries. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)