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The Rainbow Fairy Book (Books of Wonder) Hardcover – September, 1993
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From School Library Journal
Grade 3 Up-Thirty-one stories from Lang's various color fairy-tale books have been brought together in this lavishly produced volume. With a few exceptions, the selections are the best known European fairy tales, such as "Little Red Riding Hood," "The Three Pigs," and "Cinderella." The watercolor illustrations look as if Hague has tried to re-create the appearance of a fairy-tale anthology from an earlier era. The success is mixed. The colors are dense and have a peculiar garish yet blurred quality. The pencil drawings are more enticing and lively. They are skillfully done with a light and airy touch which, nevertheless, makes the most of the grotesqueries of the tales. The stories are readily available in single volumes or other collections, and the illustrations are not exciting enough to justify a first purchase. The effect of the whole is of a coffee-table book for children.
Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 4-6, younger for reading aloud. These 31 folktales and fairy tales were selected by artist Hague from Lang's Colored Fairy Books. Included are many of the more traditional tales from Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, and Perrault--among them, "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," "Rumpelstiltskin," and "Cinderella." Hague also gives a nod toward cultural inclusiveness, incorporating such tales as "The Snake Prince" from India, "The Hero Makoma" from Zimbabwe, and "Hok Lee and the Dwarfs" from China. The majority of the tales can easily be located in other collections, but they won't be so easily found grouped together as they are in this fine book. Hague has a real talent for recalling the feeling of the old masters who illustrated children's books, and he surpasses himself here with 23 full-color plates and 41 black-and-white pencil drawings. The juxtaposition of well-known and lesser-known tales with such handsome artwork results in a strong anthology that will have a multitude of uses. Janice Del Negro
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Hague's illustrations for this volume, however, turn out to be a big disappointment. First off, the colors are truly garish - there is no other adequate description. Secondly, Hague, who is never at his strongest in describing the human face, hits a real low here. Not one of the illustrations conveys human beauty. Hague who is wonderful in depicting the beauties of landscape and beast, and for the most part succeeds in capturing the ugliness of villains, cannot make Rapunzel, for example, appear anything better than plain. One need look no farther than the backcover illustration for proof of this assertion.
One can also quarrel with the selection of tales. Plenty of the most popular ones are included, too be sure, but the lesser-known tales seem to be selected on the basis of multicultural quotas rather than intrinsic merit.
My advice is to buy the first two or three of the original Lang books instead(in print, from Dover Publications). Their line drawings are far superior to Hague's illustrations, and each one contains more than 30 stories. The first book, the Blue one, has most of the popular tales.