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Harriet Ziefert has been making magic with words for many years. She is the author of over 200 books for young readers. A mother of two and grandmother of five, she lives in South Orange, New Jersey.
K-Gr 1‘These tales lend themselves well to very simple retellings. In the adaptation of the Andersen story, the prince and his dilemma are presented on page one: "There once was a prince, who wanted to marry a princess. But she had to be a real princess." He looks at many young women on the next four pages. During a rainstorm the royal family meets another "princess," and the rest is history. The pea is "saved for ever and ever." Bolam's illustrations are simple, uncluttered, and brightly colored. They're also funny. In Janet Stevens's adaptation (Holiday, 1982), more time is spent searching for the princess and explaining why certain candidates are not acceptable. The mood is entirely different because all of Stevens's characters are animals, the colors are all pastels, and more detail is given in each illustration. As in other versions of The Turnip, the vegetable grows until it is too big for the old man to pull up. He gets help from the old woman, the little girl, the dog, the cat, and finally the mouse. On the last page, all the characters are exhausted and collapsed on the ground. Rader's humorous illustrations feature people with slightly misshapen figures‘tiny feet and hands, just a little-too-large heads. Most of the pictures fill two pages, with sky and grass washes going to the edge of each page. Ziefert's easy-to-read retellings are a great way to introduce beginning readers to these classic stories.‘Mary Ann Bursk, Bucks County Free Library, Levittown, PA