Thursday, June 23, 2011

Children's Book Review: Molly Whuppie

Name of book: Molly Whuppie
Author  / Illustrator: Retold by Walter de la Mare and illustrated by Errol Le Cain
What's It All About: Written in classic fairytale form this story begins with a poor farmer's three youngest daughters who are sent out into the woods to see what will become of them.  The youngest is Molly Whuppie.  The girls end up at a giant's home and manage to escape.  The second home they find is a palace where the King tells Molly that if she will steal three things from the giant (first a small sword, then a purse, then a ring) from the giant, he will wed his sons to her sisters and herself.  Molly takes on the challenge and sneaks to the giant's three separate occasions.  When he finds her he chases her to the bridge of one hair and says:
"Woe betide 'ee Molly Whuppie, if ye ere come back again."
My Favorite Bit:
I like the page where the girls find the castle in the woods.  The illustration is spectacular.
I also really enjoy the last scene with Molly and her newly wedded husband looking at the swans in the sky.

Suitable Age For Reading It To: A story for the older children who can sit through a traditional fairytale that must go through it's proper steps. 
Go Get It: Molly Whuppie from Alibris
A little about the Author and/or Illustrator: 
Walter John de la Mare (1873-1956) was an English poet and novelist.  Descended from French Huguenots,  had four sisters and two brothers and was called Jack by his family and friends as he hated the name Walter (sound familiar C.S. fans?).  He met Elfrida Ingpen, ten years his senior, and married her, going on to have four children.  Their house was legendary for parties with imaginative games of charades. More can be found at his wikipedia article, from whence this was compiled.

Errol Le Cain (1941-1989) was born in Singapore, lived in India for five years, and finally ended up in England.  He made an animated film when he was 14.  He worked for BBC and designed sets, worked on cartoons, and graphics.  His first illustrated book was King Arthur's Sword.  Quote: (his first book) "made me aware of the scope and possibilities in children's books and now I am convinced this is the medium for me." Amen.
You can find out more about his illustrations at:

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