Santa Claus and the Three Bears
by Maria Modugno, illustrated by Jane Dyer and Brooke Dyer
Based on the classic Goldilocks and the Three Bears, this delightful story stays true to the original story, adapting it perfectly to fit Santa and the Christmas holidays. While the author weaves in a few fresh ideas, it feels like an original story, not an adaptation. Rendered in watercolor and gouache, the characters draw in the readers into the humorous tension.
While I generally include a summary of the story, it did not seem necessary for this classic. Children will delight in discovering the similarities and differences between the two storylines. Santa Claus and the Three Bears is a book that deserves a place on the shelf with the family’s Christmas classics.
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The Girl in the Golden Bower
By Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jane Dyer
Little Brown, 1994
This original magical fairy tale is a rich, full and satisfying story by master storyteller Jane Yolen, and exquisite artist Jane Dyer.
A lost young woman, is cared for by a woodsman, and they eventually marry and have a girl, Aurea, which means gold. An evil Sorceress believes a magic charm resides at their home. She becomes the cook and caretaker for the woman, who has become ill. The Sorceress shuns Aurea, and creates marvelous meals for the two adults. On her death bed, the woman gives Aurea a comb and says, “It is all I can leave you, my child, all that is mine alone to give. It belonged to my mother, who gave it to me. It will watch over you when I cannot.” The sorceress could not get the woodsman to tell her of the charm and he ‘disappears’. The evil woman began properly caring for the child, but Aurea did not trust the cook. The girl, instead, befriended the forest animals. At last the sorceress put a sleeping spell on the girl and returned a week later to retrieve the comb, but instead a young woman lay in a golden bower. The evil woman started removing the golden items. In time, and in the ways of magic tales, all is turned right and the young girl and her grandfather live happily ever after. But not so, the sorceress.
An enchanting tale, more for the 6-8 year olds, the book takes readers to another time, another land where magic exists and good always wins out. Reading The Girl in the Golden Bower and savoring each page’s beauty is an experience and joy. This 20-year old book is still a strong seller, one that belongs on nearly every girl’s shelf.
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Child of Faerie Child of Earth
Written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jane Dyer
Little Brown and Company, 1997
On Hallow night’s eve, a faerie and earth child meet, and though they are from differing lands, they are attracted to each other and soon become friends. He leads her to a dance and they dance and play all night. He asks her to stay and become a child of night, but, though she is tempted, she knows she cannot survive on faerie food. She invites him to her world and shows him her farm. At day’s end, she asks him to stay, but he knows he cannot stay and work, when his life is play. They exchange an egg and feather to remind them of each other and stay in contact all their lives.
While this summarizes the plot, the beauty of this story is that it is set in the beauty of old English rhyme. This is a true faerie tale. It features a boy faerie, unusual, but perfect for young boys as well as girls. While the hardback version is out of print, it is still available. For many children, this has been one of their favorites, read over and over. It’s magical, reassuring, nurturing, and holds a beauty and fascination for adults as well as children. The art, done by Jane Dyer, is exquisite. We experience playfulness, the faerie land, and the richness of a relationship. It teems with beauty.
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