Victor, a lonely alligator who works as a guard at the museum, falls for Christabel, the unhappy subject of a mysterious painting, and sets out to unravel the enchantment that has trapped Christabel on canvas.
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Grade 2-4-This tale of two lonely crocodiles, kindred spirits, who find one another and (it is presumed) love and happiness through a series of amazing and magical events, is distinctly unchildlike. When a mysterious painting appears at the museum where Victor works as a guard, he is immediately attracted to the sleeping Christabel in the portrait. Meanwhile, the story behind the painting is revealed: the mousy croc has been transformed into art by her evil magician cousin, Anatole Fidibus. He did this to her in a fit of pique, as he found her insufferably annoying. Readers are likely to agree with him, as her most distinguishing characteristic is that "She always did as she was told. Knowing this, she had long ago decided to live alone." Victor becomes increasingly obsessed with the picture, finally releasing her from the spell quite accidentally. Mathers's paintings, done in a palette of lush jewel tones and soft pastels, do not give the protagonists the spark that's missing in the narrative. Art complements text, in that both manage to portray the crocodiles in an unappealing manner. Anatole, in his splendid blue wizard's robe, is more interesting, although even he utters strangely inane epithets. Victor and Christabel are simply too unremarkable to elicit interest or sympathy.
Corinne Camarata, Port Washington Public Library, NY
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Another offbeat love story from the author of Sophie and Lou (1991). Victor, a crocodile, is a guard in a quiet museum where the newest painting is Cousin Christabel on Her Sickbed (a composition inspired by a Renaissance painting of St. Ursula). Haunted by Christabel's sad expression, Victor brings her flowers and pines for her on his day off. The second chapter flashes back to the arrival, uninvited, of Christabel's cousin Anatole, an ungrateful wizard who orders her about like a servant and--when she finally rebels--utters a spell that imprisons her in a painting. In the end, Victor's regard--or perhaps the steam from his tea, which Christabel also enjoys--undoes the enchantment and all ends in bliss. Mathers's subtly honed narrative has an engaging warmth and wry humor; once again, her elegant compositions and vibrant, sophisticated colors will garner adult attention while kids delight in the toothily expressive crocs and quizzical details--and in contrasting this creative update with ``The Sleeping Beauty.'' (Picture book. 4-9) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1993. Book Condition: Good. First Edition. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP79873663
Book Description Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1993. Book Condition: Good. First Edition. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP14724884
Book Description Random House Children's Books. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Book has a small amount of wear visible on the binding, cover, pages. Bookseller Inventory # G0679930604I3N00
Book Description Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used: Good. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0679930604