From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3–This edition of one of the Grimm brothers' lesser-known folktales is welcome, if only because the older versions illustrated by Adrienne Adams and Wanda Gag are out of print. Watts has retold the story of young lovers separated by a witch's enchantments with a grace that is equally reflected in her pen-and-ink illustrations with watercolor washes. When the pair wanders too near the witch's castle, Jorinda is turned into a caged bird and taken away while Jorindel stands by spellbound and helpless. After the young man dreams of a magical flower and goes on a quest to find it, he is able to enter the castle and free the hundreds of birds who are actually bewitched maidens–including, of course, his own beloved. One could argue that Watts's gentle renderings work against an effective depiction of the darkness of the witch's wickedness. Nonetheless, libraries needing to replace worn or missing copies of this fairy tale will want to add this light-filled version to their collections.– Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
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K-Gr. 3. In this evocative but infrequently retold tale, trysting sweethearts Jorinda and Jorindel stray too near the castle of a notorious witch. Jorindel watches helplessly as Jorinda, "prettiest of all the pretty girls," is transformed into a nightingale, whisked away, and locked inside a cage. A dream leads heartbroken Jorindel to a magical flower that enables him to thwart the witch. Watts cleaves closely to her source, although the Grimms' concise storytelling results in some awkward discrepancies between text and art; in one instance, several clipped sentences describe Jorindel and Jorinda's reunion followed by the release of similarly entrapped maidens, while the facing image anticipates both events but illustrates neither. Even if some children long for a more thorough visual treatment, they'll still pore over Watts' delicate renderings of fairy-tale scenery, while older readers will enjoy discussing the witch's motivations and fate, both left tantalizingly mysterious. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved