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The quiltmaker's gift
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From Publishers Weekly
As intricately worked as a patchwork quilt, de Marcken's (Born to Pull) fanciful watercolors are the highlight of this somewhat pedestrian fable. Rich but dissatisfied, a king demands a quilt from a gifted quiltmaker, but she refuses unless he gives away all his material possessions. The irate monarch twice attempts to punish her but both times she foils him. Finally he agrees to her demand, growing progressively happier with each thing that he gives away. Brumbeau's overlong tale treads a well-worn trail here, hampered by bursts of overwrought prose ("the king's great sunny laugh made green apples fall and flowers turn his way"). The artwork achieves a dizzying, quilted look with lush full-page illustrations in cotton-candy colors sharing a spread with saucy vignettes; "the king could not sleep" for instance, inspires a droll four-panel peek at the restless fellow tossing and turning in bed. De Marcken pays homage at every turn to the quiltmaker's craft. Each section of text appears on a plain cream "block" with stitching around the edges, and the endpapers sport an array of labeled quilt patterns. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 1-4-A charitable seamstress makes beautiful quilts that she gives to the needy and poor. When a greedy king hears of the marvelous creations, he demands that she sell him one. She refuses, but says that she will give him one if he gives away all of his possessions. The angry monarch tries to force her to bend to his will. Unsuccessful, he begins to travel the world giving away his amassed treasures. When he returns to the village, a happier man in ragged clothing, she presents him with a beautiful quilt. The sweet story will warm the hearts of readers, but it is the illustrations that bring the book to life. The realistic watercolors are a patchwork of rich, vibrant color. They resonate with fabric patterns, though the overall effect is slightly busy. Each spread includes a corresponding pattern (the Bear's Paw block reflects the quilter's encounter with a bear). One spread has many quilt-block names hidden in the pictures; unfortunately, the search game detailed on the verso of the dust jacket will be lost to libraries that cover it in plastic. A useful book for teaching values or for quilt units.
Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Aloha, OR
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Parents' Choice®
The illustrations are a bit crowded at times, and the moral of the story a bit too blatant, but this book has heart and an unforgettable story. The king collects things, every thing that he finds beautiful, but he does not have a quilt from the old quiltmaker in the mountains. She only gives these renowned treasures to the poor, and his greed is aroused. Product of a small press, this lovely work demonstrates its own credo, that "treasures" can sometimes be found on those far mountain tops. A 2000 Parents' Choice® Silver Honor winner.
Reviewed by Yvonne Coleman, Parents' Choice® 2000
A wise and generous quiltmaker, with magic in her fingers and love for humanity in her heart, sews the most beautiful quilts in the world-and gives each one away for free to a needy recipient. A greedy king, his castle overflowing with riches and treasures, never smiles-and yearns for the one thing that will bring him laughter and happiness. As the story unfolds, the reader watches the king learn the most valuable lesson of his life. Under the quiltmaker's guidance, the king is transformed as he gives away his precious things all around the world. He learns the true meaning of happiness by bringing joy to the lives of others. He finally begins to smile.
This charming fable is brought to stunning visual life by the beautiful bursting illustrations, which leap off every page of the book. The artist's years working for the Peace Corps are richly reflected in her art work, showing characters and adventures in all the colors of the world-as rich and varied as the crazy quilts made by the quiltmaker. Each page also highlights a different traditional quilt block pattern , the name of which relates to the unfolding story. Hundreds of subtle messages and intriguing substories are embedded in the art, inviting new discoveries reading after reading.
The reverse side of the book jacket features a dramatic puzzle poster showing the king's amazing collection of stuff. Gail de Marcken has pictured 250 different quilt block names among the treasure trove.
Visit the quiltmaker and the king online at http://www.QuiltmakersGift.com where you will find: Puzzles and games from The Quiltmaker's Gift; Stories of generosity from around the globe; Quilt block lore and quilting activities for all ages; Contests and prizes; Conversations with the author and artist.
Illustrator, Gail de Marcken, loves playing with fabrics as well as watercolors. She spends leisurely summers in the woods near Ely, Minnesota, and adventurous winters elsewhere in the world with her Peace Corps husband, Baudouin. Her first children's book, Born to Pull, was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award and winner of a Benjamin Franklin award.
"Give away all my wonderful treasures?" cried the king. "I don't give things away, I take them." And with that he ordered his soldiers to seize the beautiful star quilt from the quiltmaker.
But when they rushed upon her, she tossed the quilt out the window, and a great gust of wind carried it up, up and away.
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