The Girl of the Wish Garden: A Thumbelina Story

illus. by Nasrin Khosravi. 32p. Groundwood/House of Anansi. 2013. Tr $17.95. ISBN 978-1-55498-324-7
Gr 3–6—This lyrical picture book was inspired by Khosravi's images for an earlier Farsi version of the classic Andersen tale. Writing in a free-verse style, Krishnaswami lets the amorphous, dreamlike illustrations set the tone for the story, which begins in a garden where dreams and time "can shift and change." The thumb-size Lina begins her journey when she is captured by a giant frog and then the story loosely follows the path of the original tale. She is swept along at the mercy of the winds and follows the tunes of the birds, and each new encounter is foreshadowed by her sung cries for help. This version has no marriage proposals and only the hint of a forever after when she disappears on the wind, carried on the back of a horse. Khosravi's layered acrylic and tissue on paper images are richly colored with golds, reds, and teals. Stencil-like organic shapes and delicately lined drawings are incorporated into the paintings; they shift and change then disappear only to reappear on a later page. The abstract nature of the artwork and text will be best appreciated by more mature readers although the cover illustration will lure fairy-tale lovers of all ages.—Carol S. Surges, formerly at Longfellow Middle School, Wauwatosa, WI
This book's illustrations by renowned Iranian artist Nasrin Khosravi (1950-2010) originally appeared in a 1999 Farsi edition of Andersen's "Thumbelina." An author's note explains that since Khosravi's pictures "focus on some elements of the story, mute or shift others and completely ignore a few," Krishnaswami has used her illustrations "as my primary source material, trying to grasp their emotional arc as if it were that elusive golden bird." It's easy to see how she was inspired: Khosravi's acrylic and tissue paintings brim with allusive imagery in a luminous palette crowned with the luscious cherry red of tiny Lina's gown. Lina herself is pale, delicate, and dark-eyed, with a romantic cloud of dark tresses. Khosravi's confections -- delicate drawing and atmospheric clouds of color and shadow -- are kindred to the imaginative art of Pamela Zagarenski. Krishnaswami's response suits the pictures, though her most lyrical passages are sometimes more musical than meaningful, particularly at the end when (instead of Andersen's tiny prince) a "storm horse" carries Lina off: "Spare as thought

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