THERE IS NO better way to introduce children to classical music than with Prokofiev’s musical fairy tale of the little boy who, with the help of a bird, outsmarted the big, bad wolf. A new retelling by Janet Schulman follows the basic story, but with a kinder ending for both the big, bad wolf and the argumentative duck. Peter Malone’s paintings have the luminous quality of old Russian masters.
Malone's (How Many Miles to Bethlehem?, reviewed Sept. 27) jewel-toned paintings will give pause even to readers thoroughly familiar with Prokofiev's piece. Schulman (Countdown to Spring!) softens the traditional text, letting the duck free at the story's end. Otherwise, the narrative plays second fiddle to Malone's images. He takes his palette from Italian frescoes in shades of sage and cherry bleached by age and the noonday sun. Poignant detail enlivens the human figures golden-haired Peter in his milk-white blouse, bearded Grandfather in straw hat and suspenders and the architecture of the town center plus the hats of the red-nosed hunters give a nod to the composer's Russian origins. As the wolf enters the action and Peter plots his capture, the artist frames the dramatic moments in eerie stillness. Malone's sedate tableaux give even witty moments gravity. As the bird and the duck bicker about whether fowl should swim or fly, a spot illustration shows the duck imagining the bird encircled by a tiny inner-tube, equipped with flippers, while the bird pictures the duck fitted out with a wooden propeller and an aviator's headgear. Medieval perspectives, billowing golden clouds and the sporadic reappearance of figures from Grandfather's dreams all deepen the feeling that the story takes place in a world far away. All ages.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I can't believe I threw away $10 on a "musical fairytale" that has no music.
Peter and the wolf
Good story and music. Love the way an orchestra can interpret the characters. Great for kids.
Do Not Purchase
The description leads to believe the book includes music. It does not. This is a $10.99 purchase for a measly 8 pages of thumb nail sized illustrations. I contacted Apple and received a refund!