From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6-- This powerful Finnish folktale from the epic Kalevala is done a great disservice by this inferior picture-book version. The story is of the Sampo, a magic mill capable of grinding not only grain and salt but also gold. When the Sampo is stolen by the evil Louhi, Ilma, the finest smith in Finland, along with a minstrel and a Wanderer, set out for North Farm and recover the precious Sampo. Louhi pursues them; when her warship crashes on the rocks, she uses her magic to make a pair of wings and set of claws and continues her pursuit. She grabs the Sampo off Ilma's ship, but accidentally drops it into the ocean, whereupon she curses the land of the Finns and returns to North Farm. The three recover the pieces of the Sampo and bury them in Finland, where the Sampo's magic even now saves their country from Louhi's curse. The writing is so stilted and awkward that the story never comes alive, and the ink-wash illustrations do little to save the writing. The colors appear garish, and the flattened perspective merely looks like a lack of artistic ability. The page design is also poorly conceived, with the cramped typeface squeezed randomly into the illustrations. While there is a dearth of children's books on Finnish folklore, this is not the one to fill that gap. --Denise Anton Wright, Library Book Selection Service, Inc., Bloomington, IL
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.