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A retelling of an old Russian tale of Alexis the king's archer, his beautiful and magical wife Olga, and their adventures
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Grade 1 Up-- Folklorist Wolkstein brings her considerable talents to this Russian tale, but the final result is mixed. Alexis, the king's archer, is married to Olga, a woman possessing magical powers. Awed by her beauty, the king vows to have her for himself. He sends Alexis on a mission to go I Know Not Where and bring back I Know Not What. With the archer gone, the king goes to claim Olga but she changes herself into a blue pigeon and escapes. Along his way, Alexis encounters an invisible genie, Oom Razoom, who grants his every wish. Returning to his native land, Alexis magically defeats the king, inherits his kingdom, and lives happily ever after with Olga. This is classified as a folktale; however, no sources are given. While Wolkstein's writing is smooth and accomplished, the story is overly involved and contains too many disparate elements to be truly cohesive. Even attentive readers may have trouble following the plot. McDermott's large, full-color paintings seem to strive for the lush romanticism of 19th-century Russian illustration popularized by Ivan Bilibin and Boris Zvorykin, but they remain distinctly Western in their view and execution. The colors lack harmony; although they are bright to the point of being garish, they are flat and chalky. The composition of many paintings seems to be based upon a pseudo-classicism while the execution remains distinctly cartoonlike. All the characters have similar bulbous noses, and their eyes can only be claimed by Disney. All in all, a well-told tale saddled with a mishmash of illustrations. --Denise Anton Wright, Library Book Selection Service, Inc., Bloomington, IL
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
``Go I know not where, bring back I know not what''--such is the task set Alexis by the king. who hopes to steal Olga, Alexis's lovely wife, for himself. Olga, however, provides Alexis with some magical items to help him on his impossible quest, then escapes by turning herself back into a blue pigeon, as she was when Alexis first met her. Alexis's adventures go on for 18 years before he is able to return to his clever, faithful wife and supplant the wicked king. Wolkstein, a well-known storyteller, nicely hones her language to the spoken word, keeping the many events in this lengthy, complex tale moving briskly. In his picture-book debut, McDermott exhibits commendable verve and skill, capturing the Russian flavor in dramatic illustrations whose decorative style recalls the Petershams. Though some of his studied compositions have a static effect and his faces are more types than individuals, this is a fine debut. A sturdy contribution. (Folklore/Picture book. 5-10) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description William Morrow & Co, 1991. Condition: New. Dennis McDermott (illustrator). book. Seller Inventory # M0688094171