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by Petra Mathers & illustrated by Petra Mathers

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-679-83060-X
Publisher: Knopf

Another offbeat love story from the author of Sophie and Lou (1991). Victor, a crocodile, is a guard in a quiet museum where the newest painting is Cousin Christabel on Her Sickbed (a composition inspired by a Renaissance painting of St. Ursula). Haunted by Christabel's sad expression, Victor brings her flowers and pines for her on his day off. The second chapter flashes back to the arrival, uninvited, of Christabel's cousin Anatole, an ungrateful wizard who orders her about like a servant and—when she finally rebels—utters a spell that imprisons her in a painting. In the end, Victor's regard—or perhaps the steam from his tea, which Christabel also enjoys—undoes the enchantment and all ends in bliss. Mathers's subtly honed narrative has an engaging warmth and wry humor; once again, her elegant compositions and vibrant, sophisticated colors will garner adult attention while kids delight in the toothily expressive crocs and quizzical details—and in contrasting this creative update with ``The Sleeping Beauty.'' (Picture book. 4-9)