Wenceslas

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ill. Christian Birmingham text by Geraldine McCaughrean
Doubleday
0385605358
Nov 2005
I stupidly over-wrote this review when adding a new one. If someone has my original words saved in any format I'd be grateful if they could send them to me so that they can be reinstated. What I remember saying is roughly this: McCaughrean's text (taking its cues from J. M. Neale's well-known carol) is pitch perfect from the start: "So great fires were burning in every palace grate, and twelve days of Christmas feasting lay ahead, silly with song and dance!" Don't you just love that 'silly'?

But it's Christian Birmingham's illustrations that really drive this retelling of the King and the pageboy's charitable visit to a peasant's home. The only other illustrator I can imagine coming near to Birmingham's rich evocation of that peasant-King gathering is P J Lynch. In the following pageturn, revealing such a contrasting scene - a cold aerial view of the snow-smothered cottage and surrounding forest, we see an illustrator at work who really knows how to drive a narrative forward pictorially.

The best new Christmas title of 2005.



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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on November 14, 2005 11:14 PM.

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