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ALICE AND GRETA by Steven J. Simmons


by Steven J. Simmons & illustrated by Cyd Moore

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-88106-974-4
Publisher: Charlesbridge

The effects of artistic license become clear in this picture book from Simmons, who shows what happens to two witches who attend the same school, and are taught the same lessons, but find widely different uses for their craft. Alice's bucolic perch on a mountain has a sign that says ``Welcome!'' while Greta's sign warns, ``Keep Away!'' Butterflies and bluebirds attend one child-witch, buzzards and bats the other. When school's out, the stage is set: Alice conjures a wave for a family whose boat is stranded on a sandbar, while Greta conjures a similar wave to wash away a child's sandcastle. More examples of their opposing worldviews follow, but most readers will get the point, and it may be the simple predictability of the plot they will enjoy most. By the time Greta gets her comeuppance—she was not in school the day the most important of witchy lessons was taught, a take on the old what-goes-around- comes-around chestnut—readers will be anticipating the punishment, but not Alice's reward. As a result of all her good deeds, her view from the hill is getting ``better and better,'' with levitating children bearing thank-you notes, cookies, and flowers. Moore has a style like Lynn Munsinger's, with charmingly detailed watercolors that endlessly tinker with the symmetry of the tale—e.g., the bats have come to Alice's side in the last scene. (Picture book. 4-8)