Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review - Gwynne, Fair & Shining

Gwynne, Fair & Shining
by Stephanie Lisa Tara
illustrated by Lee Edward Födi
Date: 2011
Publisher: Stephanie Lisa Tara Children's Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 24
Format: e-book

Gwynne, Fair & Shining is a twenty-four page children's book, written in verse, about a young girl who learns she is special and can be anything she wants to be.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Maybe I'm missing something, but I just didn't get it.  This was barely a story, just a mish-mash of verse with inconsistent meter.  Gwynne is a maid to a knight who seems to be angry for no reason.  She hears music coming from the fire, and, for some reason, there's a magic flute in there.  Gwynne dances, the knight kicks her out, she goes to the forest to talk with some animals, returns to the hall, and a fairy pops out of the flute and turns her into a princess.

It's not even a story you could enjoy reading aloud to little kids, because the meter is so clumsy in places that it tripped me up even as I read it silently.  The book is only twenty four pages long... so it wasn't as if there was an awful lot to edit to make it sound more smooth and song-like (which is what I assume the author was going for).

The book's only real saving grace?  The illustrations.  They're cute and kids will probably enjoy looking at them.  But they seem out of place, too refined and professional for the clunky verse they're paired with.

Quotable moment:

Castles are cold
Castles are dim,
Cold without
Cold within.

But hearths are warm
With fire and flame,
Hearths hide magic
All the same.

Recommended to: patient parents who don't mind clunky verse, with children too young to notice

Premise: 2/5
Meter: 2/5
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.43 out of 5

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