Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Bearskinner: A Tale of the Brothers Grimm
By Laura Amy Schlitz
Illustrated by Max Grafe
Most enjoyed by 3rd through 8th graders

Don't be fooled by the size of this book. It looks like a picture book and, in fact, is a picture book. But the story is much more serious and thoughtful than it's size makes you think which makes it perfect for older readers.

A soldier on his way through the woods encounters the devil. The soldier has lost everything he loves and is hungry and penniless. The devil, easily identified by his one goat foot, offer the soldier a lifetime of riches if he will only wear a bear skin for seven years. If, during the seven years, the soldier takes the bear skin off or prays to God for help, the devil will take his soul. The soldier reluctantly agrees then struggles to keep up his end of the bargain.

'The Bearskinner' is a story of keeping hope alive despite incredible circumstances. It's a fairy tale that is not very familiar to most readers but one worth reading. The illustrations are beautiful and their color hints at the darkness of the story. You'll be thinking of this story long after you finish it.

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