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The Wishing of Biddy Malone Hardcover – January 26, 2004
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 4--Biddy Malone loves to sing and dance, though she has no apparent talent for either endeavor and a temper that is described as "a fine fierce thing." When the girl storms out of the house one evening and happens on a faerie village, a beautiful male asks her for her three deepest wishes. They are "to sing as sweetly as a thrush and dance as lightly as a deer
and for a loving heart." Back home again, Biddy finds that her wishes were not granted and that she must work to accomplish these things herself. Some years later, she attracts the attention of most of the eligible young bachelors in the vicinity, but still longs for the "loveling," whose village reappears at the opportune moment so they can pledge their love for one another. Done in acrylic paint and charcoal, the artwork does a good job of contrasting scenes of day-to-day life with the more brightly colored views of the faerie world. Cowley strives for a folkloric quality in this original tale, using sentence structure ("a loveling he was, with a band of meadow flowers about his head") and vocabulary ("mavourneen," "wisha") suggestive of Irish stories. There's not much magic in evidence, as Biddy achieves her goals only by dint of hard effort, and readers may wonder what her future holds as the domestic partner of a faerie. The unadorned stolidity of a moral tale lurks beneath the glimmering veneer of enchantment.--Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 1-3. This original tale set in Ireland introduces Biddy Malone, a girl better known for her fierce temper than her creaky singing or clumsy dancing, who happens upon a faerie village at dusk. When "a most beautiful boy" tells her to name three wishes, Biddy asks to sing sweetly, dance lightly, and have a loving heart. Back in her village, she finds that none of the gifts has been magically bestowed, but with time and effort, she gains all three and her heart's desire as well. The beautifully cadenced story reads aloud with a musical lilt, and the artwork is infused with rhythm and grace. The acrylic paintings, defined and shaded with charcoal and rich with deep colors, sensitively contrast Biddy's two worlds. Attentive listeners will hear the gentle moral as well as the plot: Biddy values her achievements more because she has worked to attain them. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
It's a good message compared to lots of other fairy tales,and a valuable lesson on self-reliance and self-confidence for children.The one thing readers might take issue with is something that was pointed out to me when I lent the book to a professor of mine to read to her grandchildren:Biddy eventually leaves her family and her whole world behind to live with the fairies,something that might not sit well with some readers.I think it's an interesting point for discussion,though;readers don't have to agree with the character's decisions in a book,and talking with your child about how the story could have ended differently can lead to some valuable discussion.
Otherwise,I mostly like the illustrations,but they tend to sway between beautiful,spot-on depictions of rural Irish life that suit the story well,or close misses that leave a little to be desired.Overall,though,the illustrations are highly enjoyable,as is the book in general.The narrative's use of light dialect for flavor adds a richness to the storytelling,the illustrations are mostly gorgeous,and the lesson is a valuable one for young readers.I highly reccomend it!
Biddy's life changes after her journey to fairy land but not the way you would expect, give it a read, there is a message for all.
A great story anytime but especialy on St. Patricks Day.
One evening, "it was the soft hour between day and night," Biddy stumbles into the land of faerie. The music and dancing are wonderful and Biddy meets the most beautiful boy she has ever seen. When he offers her three wishes she asks for the ability to sing, to dance and for a loving heart to soothe her temper. Biddy returns to her world where she discovers two months have passed. Initially, her wishes do not seem to be working but she practices every day and her singing and dancing improve. Once the fairies get hold of your heart though it is hard to move on though and Biddy must find her way back to the love of her life.
This is an interesting folk tale without a tidy ending. Are our abilities the result of talent and gifts or the result of hard work and practice?
Christopher Denise has filled with book with glowing images. His colors are in the tradition of N.C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish and Howard Pyle. I realized I knew his artwork from the Redwall books, The Great Redwall Feast and A Redwall Winter's Tale.