From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1–Poor in worldly goods but possessing “a loving and courageous heart,” orphaned Mathilde spends a day giving away her meager possessions and reaps a splendid return. The original tale is often known as “The Shower of Gold,” but apart from the title change and naming the girl, this sunny version faithfully recounts the story and its lesson. Watts's simply drawn and warmly colored figures encounter one another in appealing rural scenes. Mathilde's generosity rather begs belief as she gives away first her bit of bread and then each item of her clothing to folks who have even less than she does. Yet several elements of the spare story will appeal to young listeners, for whom the child's shedding of her hat, coat, and dress are likely to make good sense, though the quaint term “shift” for her undergarment may need a bit of explanation. Watts incorporates many small appealing animals in the countryside and forest scenes, and nature is very kind to Mathilde. The falling stars that become a shower of golden coins and the mist and star-woven garments rewarding her are surely a satisfying conclusion to this lesser-known tale from the famous collectors.Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
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Presenting the fairy tale often called “The Star Money” or “The Star Talers,” this lovely picture book tells of a girl who has no parents, no home—nothing but her clothes and a bit of bread. As Mathilde walks through the countryside, she encounters people who have even less, and she shares what she has with them. She offers her bread to a hungry man and gives her hat, her coat, her dress, and her shift to the children she meets along the way. That night, stars fall from the sky. Some become clothes to warm her, and others become gold coins to keep her all her days. Glowing with colors that change with the light and the weather, the large-scale illustrations are beautifully composed and make good use of white space. Although the houses Mathilde passes may be dilapidated, the surrounding countryside and forest provide an idyllic setting for this simple parable on giving. Preschool-Grade 3. --Carolyn Phelan