The Wish Carvers
The Wish Carvers
Day after day, week after week, month after month, Fay and her brother Eddie carved and painted. They sold their carvings at the village market every Saturday. The two earned enough to buy food to eat, clothes to wear, and more paint for their carvings. But sometimes all that work was exhausting! Every day, they complained about the same things.
“My hands are so sore from all this carving,” Fay grumbled. “I wish I could take a long rest.”
“All my clothes are covered in paint,” Eddie whined. “I wish I had something nicer to wear.”
The story in The Wish Carvers is simple, based on the adage, “Be careful what you wish for”. Fay and Eddie, brother and sister elves, find a knife that will turn whatever they carve into reality. First, a wooden pot of gold turns into real gold. Soon the pair have carved themselves into a fancy castle with a staff to care for it. Unfortunately, the castle attracts endless tourists, and Fay and Eddie quickly begin to wish for their old lifestyle. When Eddie wishes for their “tiny log cabin” again, Fay “has an idea”.
Readers and listeners will enjoy predicting what happens next as the story unfolds. The message will be clear and could lead to some deeper level discussion, even with your youngest library patrons.
However, what makes this story standout from others with a similar message is the delightful artwork by Sari Richter. Beginning with the bunny slippers worn by Fay on the cover, to the background fairytale characters of mice, ogres, and magicians, to the laundry hung out on the line in the corner of the original log cabin, students will find lots to enjoy and discover. The tourists who “began to pour in by the hundreds” are portrayed by a line of feet, footwear and footprints tramping through the page, leaving a mess of litter as they tour the castle. The “castle helpers” are illustrated by an exhausted-looking faun or satyr leaning on his scrubbing bucket.
In addition to all of the details in each picture, such as a tail sticking out of a mouse hole in the baseboard and a chair leg repaired with a piece of wood and a couple of nails, the illustrator has also included a pair of butterflies that flit through the story illustrations. Full disclosure, I couldn’t find the butterflies on one of the pages, and so I can’t say that they are on every page, or are they?
The Wish Carvers will be a well-enjoyed addition to storybook collections.
Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher-librarian and instructor of Librarianship courses at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.