Thursday, February 4, 2010

Clever Katarina retold by Ken Setterton

This book is filled with lovely illustrations done by the delicate cut-paper art of scherenschnitt by Nelly and Ernest Hofer. It's truly beautiful work, but has to require immense patience!

Katarina is poor, but very smart. When her father discovers a golden mortar in the ground the King gave them for farming, he is determined to deliver it to the King. She knows the King will want the pestle to go with it, and they don't have that. But her father persists - and ends up in the dungeon.

When the King hears of her, he invites her to visit and tells her if she can solve his riddle, then he will marry her and release her father from prison.

She goes home uncertain how to overcome the riddle, but talks to her neighbors and eventually figures out a way. The King is amazed but happy, and marries her.

All is well until a peasant asks for her help because the King has given his foal away. She tells how to solve the problem, but says he must not tell the King where he got the idea. Unfortunately, he's not strong enough to withstand the King.

The King then tells her he will no longer tolerate her presence in the castle, she will have to leave the next day. She is allowed to take the thing she loves best home with her, but that's all of her riches she's allowed.

She does. And the thing she loves the most is the King... When he wakes up and sees what she's done, he gets over his snit and they return to the castle. Now when he gets a perplexing problem, he checks with Katarina!

A great fairy tale that demonstrates that brain power is important.

Thanks to Tundra Books, another great read!

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