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Pico lives alone in a dark cave to hide his ugliness, but when some dwarves give Pico a crystal that reflects what's inside his heart, Pico's true beauty is revealed.
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PreS-Gr. 1. Using the same gimmick that worked so well for Marcus Pfister's Rainbow Fish series, Weninger offers a book full of sparkles that add sheen to a familiar story. Pico is a kind dwarf, but so ugly that he won't leave his cave during the day. His only acquaintance is a stinky, old troll. One night, Pico sees dwarves hammering crystal from rock and assists them by adding an ending to the poetic song they are singing. Bathed in warmth by their acceptance, he becomes their storyteller, and receives a piece of magic crystal that allows those who look inside it to see their true selves. When Troll learns of Pico's experience, he tries the same gambit, but, of course, his crystal shows him to be as disgusting on the inside as he is on the outside. Despite the heavy-handed message, children will root for Pico (who, frankly, doesn't look that much worse than the other dwarves), and be satisfied when Troll gets his just desserts. Shiny pieces of mylar decorate the pages, lighting up the otherwise dark, painterly illustrations; young children will want to reach out and touch. Ilene Cooper
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Grade 1-4 - Pico, a dwarf who's ashamed of his looks, helps the crystal dwarves find a rhyme for their song. In gratitude, their king rewards him with a piece of magic crystal that shows all who look into it who they really are. A greedy "stinky old troll" also demands a piece of it from the king. What the troll sees frightens him so badly he is never seen again, whereas Pico realizes his true goodness and lives happily as a storyteller. This modern fairy tale, reminiscent of "Toads and Diamonds," is marred by a wooden text: "The stinky old troll was angry with the stupid crystal dwarves. They only gave him a single, small magic crystal for his three rhymes!" Ingpen's dark fairy tale landscape, with touches of actual shiny crystals (Rainbow Fish meets Arthur Rackham), is both rich and evocative and makes the crystal mines come to life, but it cannot lift the book above the level of the pedestrian. This offering once again proves that "all that glitters is not gold." - Kathleen Whalin, York Public Library, ME
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Book Description Minedition, 2004. Condition: New. Robert Ingpen (illustrator). book. Seller Inventory # M0698400070
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