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Jeff brumbeau grew up in New York City, where he lived with his mother and sister in his wodowed grandmother's house. His mother worked hard to support her family, who struggled to get by. Jeff has had a variety of jobs befitting a degree in English, he says, including pumping gas, carpentry, painting, working in a mail room, car wash, factory, and candy store, on an oil rig in Wyoming and in advertising. He lives in Chicago and Taos with Marcia, his wife; Samantha, the opera singin Persian cat; and Louis, the daredevil alley cat.
Gr 1-4-A charitable seamstress makes beautiful quilts that she gives to the needy and poor. When a greedy king hears of the marvelous creations, he demands that she sell him one. She refuses, but says that she will give him one if he gives away all of his possessions. The angry monarch tries to force her to bend to his will. Unsuccessful, he begins to travel the world giving away his amassed treasures. When he returns to the village, a happier man in ragged clothing, she presents him with a beautiful quilt. The sweet story will warm the hearts of readers, but it is the illustrations that bring the book to life. The realistic watercolors are a patchwork of rich, vibrant color. They resonate with fabric patterns, though the overall effect is slightly busy. Each spread includes a corresponding pattern (the Bear's Paw block reflects the quilter's encounter with a bear). One spread has many quilt-block names hidden in the pictures; unfortunately, the search game detailed on the verso of the dust jacket will be lost to libraries that cover it in plastic. A useful book for teaching values or for quilt units.-Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Aloha, OR Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
As intricately worked as a patchwork quilt, de Marcken's (Born to Pull) fanciful watercolors are the highlight of this somewhat pedestrian fable. Rich but dissatisfied, a king demands a quilt from a gifted quiltmaker, but she refuses unless he gives away all his material possessions. The irate monarch twice attempts to punish her but both times she foils him. Finally he agrees to her demand, growing progressively happier with each thing that he gives away. Brumbeau's overlong tale treads a well-worn trail here, hampered by bursts of overwrought prose ("the king's great sunny laugh made green apples fall and flowers turn his way"). The artwork achieves a dizzying, quilted look with lush full-page illustrations in cotton-candy colors sharing a spread with saucy vignettes; "the king could not sleep" for instance, inspires a droll four-panel peek at the restless fellow tossing and turning in bed. De Marcken pays homage at every turn to the quiltmaker's craft. Each section of text appears on a plain cream "block" with stitching around the edges, and the endpapers sport an array of labeled quilt patterns. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.