Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
A Handful of Beans

A Handful of Beans

1998 Picture Books
Ages: 5 - 10 yrs.
Author: Jeanne Steig
Illustrator: William Steig
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0-06-205162-8
Hardcover Price: $17.95
Irrestible both in content and format is this enticingly fat, small-size tome containing six of the most popular traditional fairy tales (Rumpelstiltskin, Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, The Frog Prince, and Jack and the Beanstalk). Rendered in Jeanne Steig’s folksy, witty and refreshingly contemporary prose, the stories have never seemed more timely or compelling. Hear the start of Little Red Riding Hood: “The two things your grandmother loves best in this world are you and custard pie,” said Little Red Riding Hood’s mother. “She’s been sick, so I’ve made a custard pie for you to bring her.” The author also has an endearing way of bursting into verse at appropriate moments, as when the distraught Queen in Rumpelstiltskin begins rattling off likely names for the little man: “Is it Crumple or Blister, or Guggle or Nank? Williwaw, Flimflam, or Hiccup or Clank?” William Steig’s watercolor illustrations for his wife’s admirable renderings—an average of four to each story are at once literal and droll. The Steigs’ collaboration should not be missed; it is a delight to both ear and eye.
Selma G. Lanes   ©1998 Parents' Choice

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