The Magic Gold Fish; A Russian Folktale

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9780805032437: The Magic Gold Fish; A Russian Folktale
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Catching and releasing a magic talking fish, a poor old fisherman is unable to prevent his greedy wife from demanding bigger and bigger rewards, until the sensible fish puts her back in her place.

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From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 3? While variants of this tale exist in several cultures, Demi uses Pushkin's retelling as the basis of this version. A poor fisherman spares the life of a magical talking fish, and in return is granted anything he wants. At first he asks for nothing, but later?spurred on by his greedy wife?he requests a series of things, until his wife's wish to become the mistress of the seas sends the two of them back to their hovel by the sea. This tale of virtue rewarded and greediness punished has great appeal for authors and illustrators and is readily available in many other noteworthy picture-book versions of the Grimms' version, all with the title The Fisherman and His Wife. However, Demi's highly stylized artwork sets this one apart. Done in a combination of ink washes, line drawings, and acrylic paint, her artwork is highly influenced by traditional Oriental ink drawings and tapestries. The pages of text are surrounded by small illustrations or designs arranged in a circular pattern while the larger illustration on the facing page is emcompassed by a large bronze-gold circular band, thus emphasizing the circular nature of the story. The human and animal figures are delicately understated in graceful curves and are drawn with thin, uniform lines of ink. With a palette dominated by rich golds and reds, Demi evokes the grandeur of Old Russia and the aspirations of the fisherman's wife. Overall, a worthwhile addition.?Denise Anton Wright, Illinois State University, Normal
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

Ages 4^-8. Like Margaret Reed MacDonald's recent picture book The Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle , this is a variant on the story best known as "The Fisherman and His Wife." In this Russian version, adapted from Pushkin by Demi, an old man catches a talking gold fish, which he kindly releases. His crotchety old wife keeps sending him back to the fish to ask for ever greater wishes, until she finally undoes herself by asking to become the fish's ruler. In this elegantly designed picture book, shiny gold circles border the illustration on each recto page, with text on the facing page encircled by pictorial details from the story. The tale has its own built-in pacing, and there's a musical lilt to the telling, with each phrase having the same number of beats, as the story marches toward its inevitable end. Susan Dove Lempke

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