The King Who Tried to Fry an Egg on His Head

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9780027362428: The King Who Tried to Fry an Egg on His Head

After marrying his three daughters off to the Sun, Moon, and Raven, the foolish King tries to emulate the special talents of his sons-in-law, with ridiculous results, in a lively retelling of an old Russian folktale.

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From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 3-Ginsburg continues the celebration of Russian folklore she began in The Twelve Clever Brothers and Other Fools (HarperCollins, 1979; o.p.). In this tale, a poor and foolish king lives in a "tumbledown palace" with his wife and daughters. Rather than starve to death, he makes a deal. If Sun will warm him, Moon give him light, and Raven gather grain, he will give each of them one of his daughters in marriage. The nontraditional sons-in-law all have unusual talents that the king tries to emulate-unsuccessfully, of course. Finally, after a fall from a tree, the foolish man decides that it's best to live by his own wits, however limited. Children will delight in the silly, often slapstick humor of the king's antics in this smooth and lively retelling. However, it is the illustrations that really bring the offbeat story to life. The folk-art paintings effectively combine regal blues and reds with rustic browns and yellows to create a sense of a royal fool. The characters' exaggerated proportions and flattened faces further add to the feeling of good-natured buffoonery. Libraries with a demand for funny books will want to consider this title.
Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Library, WI
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

This flat retelling of a Russian folktale may have lost something in the translation. An impoverished king marries off his three daughters to the Sun, the Moon and the Raven in return for the warmth, light and gathering skills that his prospective sons-in-law promise to provide. Not long after the princesses leave home, the king pays a visit to each newlywed couple, each time receiving gifts and special treatment from his hosts. But when the king subsequently attempts to duplicate the feats of the Sun, the Moon and the Raven for his wife back at home, he fails and is proven a fool. Ginsburg's simple sentences and chatty style set an appropriately lighthearted mood, but cannot overcome a lack of drama and a weak, abrupt denouement. Demonstrating a slightly different style here, Hillenbrand's richly hued oils offer a likable cast of egg-headed royalty and a wide range of perspectives. Unfortunately, even some inventive images--a spooky, gnarled tree; a bath house dissected by brilliant beams of moonlight--do little to elevate an unsatisfying story. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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