Nancy Willard The Flying Bed

ISBN 13: 9780590256100

The Flying Bed

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9780590256100: The Flying Bed
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Newbery Medalist Nancy Willard weaves a tale of magic in a lavishly illustrated picture book about a poor baker and his wife whose luck changes when they receive an enchanted flying bed.

Newbery Medalist Nancy Willard spins an original fairy tale about a poor baker who finds a beautiful bed for his wife in a strange new shop--for free! Perhaps his bad luck has turned? But there are more wonders in store, for the bed has magical powers. That night, the couple flies across the heavens to meet a master baker who gives them some magic yeast that will make them the best--and richest--bakery in town! But the yeast comes with a promise that will test the baker's integrity, and will eventually teach the baker and his wife about the true riches of love and loyalty.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 2–4—In Florence, Guido is a second-generation baker who inherits neither his father's talent nor his good character. Both flaws cause his business to suffer, and eventually money grows so scarce that Guido sells all the furniture. After his wife, Maria, furiously demands at least a bed to sleep in, Guido finds an enchanted bed that can fly at night. It takes the pair on wild rides over the city and into the land of the master bakers where they accept a bag of magic yeast. After this, their business booms until Guido gets greedy and foolishly exchanges some of the yeast for what turn out to be counterfeit bills. Then the business goes to pieces, and Maria gets sick and goes on another midnight flight in the bed, and when she returns, things again turn around for the hapless couple. The main problem with this text-intensive illustrated story is that it covers a lot of ground and then fails to make much of a point. The plot is entirely too complicated and arbitrary. The imagery is rich and wonderful, the photorealistic details in the art are nuanced, the illusion of light playing across each page is inspired, and every feature, down to the veins and knuckles in Guido's hand, is rendered flawlessly. But the story is downright puzzling, and then it abruptly crash-lands into a "happy" ending that makes little sense. Thompson's art is notable, but this is not Willard's best work.—Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

Guido has inherited the family business, a bakery in Florence, which he runs with his wife. Unlike his father, who took pride in giving customers his best, Guido scrimps on ingredients and mixes day-old cookies with fresh ones rather than cut their price. Soon poverty dogs the young couple, until Guido brings home an ornately carved bed. To their amazement, the bed flies, transporting them to a master baker, who gives them a little bag of special yeast. The bakery flourishes until Guido sells some of the yeast, and their troubles begin again. The long story is well constructed and gracefully told, and Thompson contributes a series of fine paintings, including some haunting cityscapes and several scenes of the ornately carved bed flying over the city and the countryside. Though the length of the text may limit audience appeal, this unusual picture book neatly melds magic with soft-edged realism. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Willard, Nancy, Thompson, John, ill.,
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