Time for Flowers, Time for Snow: A Retelling of the Legend of Demeter and Persephone

illus. by Philippe Béha. 54p. w/CD. Tradewind. 2013. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781896580265.
Gr 5 Up—This extravagant reworking of the Persephone myth pairs a picture book and a "CD of the opera performed by over 180 Quebec school children accompanied by the Orchestre Symphonique Pop de Montréal." Though Demeter's grief at the loss of Persephone and Persephone's longing to leave Hades and return to the flowering Earth are the heart of the tale, the music tends to be bright in tone. The telling is lush in description and dialogue. The pictures feature bold, spare figures in simple naive style, richly colored and highlighted with washes suggesting backgrounds. The underworld glows red, Earth is usually green, and many characters are framed in blue. Snippets from sheet music set into the pictures work well as collage and hint at the musical connection of the book. There's plenty to ponder in the narrative. Persephone is but a girl playing hide-and-seek when Hades kidnaps her to become his bride, and he treats her well, showering her with gifts and plying her with a rich variety of food she will not eat during her long months in the underworld, lest she be bound there for eternity. Zeus's messenger Hermes seems quite a dolt, unaccountably neglecting to report the child snatching he has witnessed. In the end this is a romance, with Persephone growing to love first her captor's horses and then him. The substantial package is not a simple introduction to the traditionally spare tale, but it offers possibilities for those who are already mythology fans.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston

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