One-Eye! Two-Eyes! Three-Eyes! A Very Grimm Fairy Tale
Written by Aaron Shepard; illustrated by Gary Clement
Atheneum Books for Young Readers; $16.95
32 pp.; ISBN-13: 978-0689867408
Review by Amy Brozio-Andrews
In this clever re-telling of a classic tale, One-Eye! Two-Eyes! Three-Eyes! A Very Grimm Fairy Tale encourages young readers to join in the fun as a young girl finally gets the better of her two older sisters.
Three sisters, One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes, who have one eye, two eyes, and three eyes respectively, of course, live together in a little house in the woods. But, as in most fairy tales, it was not an entirely happy home. Turns out that Two-Eyes' sisters thought she was weird-looking because she had two eyes. Her sisters mistreated her terribly -- she had nothing but rags to wear and leftovers to eat.
One day, while out in the woods, Two-Eyes meets up with a wise old woman -- a fairy grandmother, if you will -- who gives her special phrases and songs that allow her a reprieve from at least eating her sisters' leftovers. These magic words make her sisters sleep while she gets a good meal, but her imperfect usage of them tips off her evil sisters that she's getting some extra help from someone, somehow but they're not quite smart enough to figure it out. When a knight in shining armor (who else?) shows up seeking fruit from the magic tree Two-Eyes planted in the yard, One-Eye and Three-Eyes try to hide their sister. Two-Eyes' unwillingness to hide any longer though has unexpected consequences for everyone.
Aaron Shepard's newest re-telling of the old folk tale "One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyes" includes a final page on which he has several bars of music to accompany the song that the fairy grandmother teaches Two-Eyes. The writer's website also offers readers an audio clip of the song, plus a reader's theatre script. The inclusion of the easily-repeated phrases and songs makes it easy for kids to participate in the reading of the book; One-Eye! Two-Eyes! Three-Eyes! is an especially good choice for reading out loud and to groups of children. Early elementary school-aged kids are most likely to enjoy the story.
Gary Clement, who's won the Canadian Governor General's Literary Award, has illustrated the book in a unique blend of modern and medieval. The dress and look of all the characters has a very traditional folk tale look, however Two-Eyes gets to re-heat her leftovers in a microwave. Sounds odd, but it doesn't look incongruous at all in beautiful watercolor and pencil art. Together, the words and illustrations combine to offer young readers an engaging picture book that tells a fun story and lets them have fun too.
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