Dove Isabeau / written by Jane Yolen ; illustrated by Dennis Nolan.
- ISBN: 0152241310 :
- Physical Description:  p. : col. ill. ; 29 cm.
- Publisher: San Diego : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, c1989.
Young, beautiful Dove Isabeau is turned into a fire-breathing dragon by her evil stepmother and is saved from the spell by her true love, Kemp Owain.
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Gr 3-6-- A cold, craggy northern shore is the setting for Yolen's haunting tale of dark sorcery, which she richly embroiders with traditional fairy-tale conventions and imagery. The beautiful young Isabeau is as sweet and innocent as a dove, yet she possesses a fiery inner spirit. After her mother's death, she is left with only the Lady Darnton's cat for companionship. Her father remarries, but the woman is, in fact, a witch intent on destroying Isabeau. Using herbs of devilry, the stepmother turns the girl into a hideous red wyrm (dragon) who must eat the young men who come to fight it in order to survive. After 99 have met this fate, prince Kemp Owain, who has studied good magicks, returns to try to save the kingdom. The cat speaks to him in riddles, explaining how to break the evil spell; he succeeds but is turned to stone in the process. Isabeau then slays the witch and again it's the cat who helps bring the prince back to life. Nolan's dramatic watercolors are nothing short of magical. The blues and grays of the rocks, the sky, and the sea capture in turn the stark beauty and menacing nature of the cliffs. His realistic renderings of people are extremely effective, and his majestic wyrm could strike fear in the bravest of the brave. The exquisite book design and sophisticated themes of self-sacrifice, good triumphing over evil at a cost, and lost innocence suggest a mature audience. A powerful and appealing picture-book fantasy with a ``happily ever after'' ending. --Luann Toth , School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.