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The Bremen Town Musicians


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About the Author

After studying at Marburg, Jacob became a clerk in the War Office at Kassel, and in 1808 librarian to Jerome Bonaparte, King of Westphalia. In 1841 he received Professorship at Berlin, and in 1854 began work on Deutsches Worterbuch with his brother. Leiden University.


K-Gr 3-- A fine adaptation of the classic story of four animals, cast out because of old age, who join forces to defeat a band of robbers and make new lives for themselves in the proverbial house in the woods. The text has the same authentic quality as Ralph Manheim's in Grimm Tales for Young and Old (Doubleday, 1983) but is even simpler. The full-page illustrations, inspired by Russian folk art, are highly stylized, brilliantly colored, and heavily outlined. Many spill over onto the adjacent pages of text (which may also include smaller renderings), and are a good match for the lively tale. In addition, Palecek's use of colored pencils over watercolors creates an attractively unique effect seldom seen in American picture books. A dramatic alternative to Ilse Plume's more subdued Caldecott Honor Book version (Harper, 1987). --Julie Corsaro, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

This book retells the familiar tale of four aging animals who set out for Bremen determined to make their living as musicians. The volume's high point is the effulgent artwork by Watts, who has also illustrated such classics as The Fir Tree and The Elves and the Shoemaker . Whether depicting the richly tinted autumn landscape or the incandescent glow of the moonlit forest, her double-page spreads are imposing. Bell's forthright translation lacks the flair of both Hans Wilhelm's book of the same title and The Traveling Musicians of Bremen by P. K. Page, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton (Children's Forecasts, Feb. 3, 1992). Watts's pictures, however, though possessing less child appeal than Wilhelm's, make this the most visually memorable of the three versions. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)

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