One Fine Trade

One Fine Trade retold by Bobbi Miller, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand

A retelling of the classic folktale style of trading for something worse and then reversing the trading to finally get what you set out for.  In this version, Georgy Piney Woods is a peddler.  His daughter asks him to trade her horse so that she can get a silver dollar to buy her wedding dress.  So he trades the horse for a cow, the cow for a dog, the dog for a stick.  Sounds worse and worse, doesn’t it?  But never fear, a solution, unexpected and wonderfully complex, is on its way.  I wouldn’t want to spoil the tale and tell you the ending though!

Miller excels at writing in a traditional way.  Her words evoke a history of folktales without effort.  It is filled with great folksy sayings like “How-do!” And the text is made for reading aloud with its partial sentences that really read like someone is speaking.  Miller has also added lovely descriptive passages about the land Georgy is passing through on his travels.  Daisies are a-dancing, gators are a-splashing, and catbirds are a-mewing.  Hillenbrand takes these passages and brings the entire story to life.  His art is friendly and folksy, with an angular horse, deep darkness of swampland, and one amazingly large stick.  Each character he draws has its own feel and style, which is quite a challenger in a book with such a series of people appearing.

A great read-aloud version of the folktale and well worth trading a horse for!  Appropriate for ages 4-8.

Reviewed from library copy.

Also reviewed by Fuse #8 and Shari Lyle-Soffe.