Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Grade 3-6?Unlike the more concise adaptations by Robert Van Nutt (Rabbit Ears, 1991) and Robert San Souci (Doubleday, 1986), this version of the classic tale, retold by Grandma Moses's great-grandson, remains true to the original in its lengthy and flowery narration. An unnamed storyteller enthusiastically relays the legend of the Headless Horseman and his effect on the schoolmaster, Ichabod Crane, in "...a mysterious, dreamy little settlement called Sleepy Hollow." While there are occasional awkward passages, the text is lively and compelling, with a 19th-century flavor.
The primitive paintings enhance the Hudson Valley setting; unfortunately, their quality is uneven. Moses is most successful with the double-page landscapes and village scenes (similar to his great-grandmother's style), which will intrigue readers with their detailed activity. A few of the smaller vignettes capture humorous situations and the personalities of individual characters, but many, especially the night scenes, are indistinct and muddy. Moses includes black characters in the illustrations, though he has removed Irving's stereotyped descriptive passages. The lively text begs to be read aloud, but the detailed paintings lend themselves to one-on-one viewing. Try San Souci's or Van Nutt's version if you are sharing the illustrations with a group.?Kristin Lott, East Brunswick Public Library, NJ

Price info:$12.59
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