From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 4–This carefully worded retelling of the popular Grimm brothers' tale is also a lovely blend of text and illustration. Holding closely to the original, Puttapipat uses the conceit of the donkey, at the request of his three companions, relating the story of their grand adventure as an evening's entertainment. Nicely composed and finely detailed ink-and-watercolor illustrations cover a large part of each spread, leaving creamy spaces against which the text is set. The first and last paintings, outlined by white borders, help to carry out the framing device. On some pages, a soft, fine-lined black-ink vignette sits beside the larger colored composition, adding further pictorial detail from the text. The animals are realistically painted, with personality in their facial expressions. Chests out, heads held high, they have clearly bolstered their self-esteem by banding together. An author's note explains why the human characters are dressed in 17th-century garb. This beautifully executed folktale would be a great addition to any collection.–Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
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PreS-Gr. 2. In his first picture book, Thai artist Puttapipat makes music the strong focus of his lively version of the old Grimm brothers'folktale. He tells the tale from the viewpoint of the donkey, the dog, the cat, and the rooster, which make a harmonious quartet, braying, drumming, and meowing as the Rooster sings a "gloriously alarming aria." The dramatic ink-and-watercolor illustrations show the characters as real barnyard animals, sad at being discarded by their human owners, strong and melodious together. Particularly memorable is the beautiful double-page spread of Rooster perched on a farmyard gate, his fury expressed in glorious shades of red and blue as his mistress plans to wring his neck. This particular animal quartet never makes it to Bremen; instead, it routs a band of robbers and settles cozily in a cottage, "still making [their] wonderful music together." Adults will appreciate the interesting afterword about the music and the folklore. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved