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Dove Isabeau Paperback – March 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 860L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Voyager Books (March 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152015051
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152015053
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,872,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Yolen's new fable, redolent with myths ageless and archetypal, strikes at the heart. Dove Isabeau, so-called because she always wears dove's colors of gray or white, is bereft at her mother's death. Her father, Lord Darnton, marries a witch--with "eyes the green of May but a heart as bleak as February." Jealous of Isabeau's youth and beauty, the witch resolves to destroy her and turns her into a great Wyrm, an ugly, scaly red dragon. The dragon is condemned to preventing Isabeau's suitors from entering the castle (by eating them), until "No one was left to watch the red beast weep as it gnawed upon their bones." Only when the king sends abroad for his son, Kemp Owain, to return from his study of sorcery is Isabeau saved, and not without a bit of help from her mother's cat, who issues instructions in the sweet voice of the dead queen. Word and picture are wedded here in perfect harmony. Nolan's somber, lucid watercolors, full of detail, show the interior of the castle, the witch's tower room, the transformation of gentle Isabeau into the fearsome, ugly dragon. Less effective, and only because the others are so strong, are those showing the young couple in happier times. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-6-- A cold, craggy northern shore is the setting for Yolen's haunting tale of dark sorcery, which she richly embroiders with traditional fairy-tale conventions and imagery. The beautiful young Isabeau is as sweet and innocent as a dove, yet she possesses a fiery inner spirit. After her mother's death, she is left with only the Lady Darnton's cat for companionship. Her father remarries, but the woman is, in fact, a witch intent on destroying Isabeau. Using herbs of devilry, the stepmother turns the girl into a hideous red wyrm (dragon) who must eat the young men who come to fight it in order to survive. After 99 have met this fate, prince Kemp Owain, who has studied good magicks, returns to try to save the kingdom. The cat speaks to him in riddles, explaining how to break the evil spell; he succeeds but is turned to stone in the process. Isabeau then slays the witch and again it's the cat who helps bring the prince back to life. Nolan's dramatic watercolors are nothing short of magical. The blues and grays of the rocks, the sky, and the sea capture in turn the stark beauty and menacing nature of the cliffs. His realistic renderings of people are extremely effective, and his majestic wyrm could strike fear in the bravest of the brave. The exquisite book design and sophisticated themes of self-sacrifice, good triumphing over evil at a cost, and lost innocence suggest a mature audience. A powerful and appealing picture-book fantasy with a "happily ever after" ending. --Luann Toth , School Library Journal
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Born and raised in New York City, Jane Yolen now lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts. She attended Smith College and received her master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts. The distinguished author of more than 170 books, Jane Yolen is a person of many talents. When she is not writing, Yolen composes songs, is a professional storyteller on the stage, and is the busy wife of a university professor, the mother of three grown children, and a grandmother. Active in several organizations, Yolen has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, was president of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1986 to 1988, is on the editorial board of several magazines, and was a founding member of the Western New England Storytellers Guild, the Western Massachusetts Illustrators Guild, and the Bay State Writers Guild. For twenty years, she ran a monthly writer's workshop for new children's book authors. In 1980, when Yolen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts, the citation recognized that "throughout her writing career she has remained true to her primary source of inspiration--folk culture." Folklore is the "perfect second skin," writes Yolen. "From under its hide, we can see all the shimmering, shadowy uncertainties of the world." Folklore, she believes, is the universal human language, a language that children instinctively feel in their hearts. All of Yolen's stories and poems are somehow rooted in her sense of family and self. The Emperor and the Kite, which was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1983 for its intricate papercut illustrations by Ed Young, was based on Yolen's relationship with her late father, who was an international kite-flying champion. Owl Moon, winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal for John Schoenherr's exquisite watercolors, was inspired by her husband's interest in birding. Yolen's graceful rhythms and outrageous rhymes have been gathered in numerous collections. She has earned many awards over the years: the Regina Medal, the Kerlan Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Society of Children's Book Writers Award, the Mythopoetic Society's Aslan Award, the Christopher Medal, the Boy's Club Jr. Book Award, the Garden State Children's Book Award, the Daedalus Award, a number of Parents' Choice Magazine Awards, and many more. Her books and stories have been translated into Japanese, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Afrikaans, !Xhosa, Portuguese, and Braille. With a versatility that has led her to be called "America's Hans Christian Andersen," Yolen, the child of two writers, is a gifted and natural storyteller. Perhaps the best explanation for her outstanding accomplishments comes from Jane Yolen herself: "I don't care whether the story is real or fantastical. I tell the story that needs to be told."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 4, 1998
Format: Paperback
Yolen, as usual, wows and wonders the reader with the story of Dove Isabeau. A beautiful, soft, sweet and innocent dove of a girl discovers a dragon without and within her after suffering the enchantment of her wicked and jealous stepmother. Isabeau, unlike many of her fairy tale counterparts, isn't going to passively watch her knight in shining armor be turned to stone for all eternity, and she takes sword in hand to try and save the day. Yolen's prose is singsong storytelling at its best, that rolls along like a bard by the evening fire. The stepmother is underdeveloped, as she is in most stories, and the reader might wonder why she hates Dove Isabeau so much, but that certainly doesn't take away from the pure enjoyment of this story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Out of keeping with the stock character on December 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
I found this book while volunteering at a library when I was 12 and was absolutely spellbound. The story is full of deeper meaning and the illustrations are gorgeous. It is at once an enchanting fairy tale a younger child can enjoy, and a story that will speak to the heart of a preteen or teenager. It contains messages about unconditional love, of looking beyond appearance and even behavior to the person within, and self-acceptance that are beautiful and touching for all ages. I now have three daughters of my own and can't wait to share this book with them. It is a book that a child could appreciate for many years, finding different aspects to enjoy as they grow.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
I found this book in college and was enchanted all the same. A lifelong fan of sci-fi and fantasy, I loved the story as well as the illustrations. I plan on holding onto this book forever - and to share it with my own children and with the children of friends and family.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Surreptrixious on February 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
My second grade teacher read this book to me. I thought about it years later, but couldn't remember the title. I recently sought out and e-mailed my former teacher and asked her about this book. I'm now taking a class in Children's Literature and plan to share it when we cover picture books. I think it really speacks to the story that, twenty years later, I am still spellbound by it and feel the need to share it with others. My one regret is that I was only able to find it in paperback and not hardcover.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jaine L. Benson on January 19, 2011
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
When you read a tale that is spun with surprise, drama, and delight, you first ask, who is this author and I wonder what else she writes, and what her general thinking style is like to come up with this gem. I asked, and then went on to read every Jane Yolen book I ran across. I think when you read Dove Isabeau, you will agree.
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