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Crystal Mountain, The
retold and illustrated by Ruth Sanderson

published 2017 10" x 10" • 32 pages • full-color
ISBN 9781566560214 • hardback • $17.95


When a weaver dreams of a lush land, she works tirelessly to recreate the place in a beautiful tapestry. But she and her three sons barely have time to admire her handiwork when the tapestry is stolen by jealous fairies. First Leon, the strong eldest son, the Blaine, the intellectual second son, vow to retrieve the tapestry. Yet neither Leon’s strength nor Blaine’s intelligence is enough to carry them to the tapestry’s whereabouts—high atop a shimmering crystal mountain.

When his brothers fail to return, Perrin, the youngest son, sets off to recover the tapestry. Perrin’s determination and talent help him outwit the fairy thieves—proving that the mightiest hero is often the most unlikely.

Ruth Sanderson weaves a magical spell in this retelling of an enchanting tale.

Ruth Sanderson is the highly acclaimed illustrator of over 75 books for children. Her fairy tale retellings include The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Rose Red and Snow White, Cinderella, The Snow Princess, and Papa Gatto. Her original fairy tale, The Enchanted Wood, won both the Young Hoosier Award and the Bank Street College Award. The Texas Bluebonnet Award was given to her retelling of The Golden Mare, The Firebird, and The Magic Ring. She lives with her husband in Easthampton, Massachusetts.

Media Reviews

“Sumptuous… a rich visual experience… Taking particular strands from a Chinese tale of a magic brocade, detailed threads from a Norwegian story of a glass mountain, and filaments from her own artistic imagination, Sanderson has woven a new fabric, framed in a 15th-century European landscape (a time of extraordinary tapestry making). The stately text incorporates many traditional elements: the three sons of a widowed mother, the apparently feckless youngest son, magical animal aides, a crystal/glass mountain, and a quest fraught with dangers. Opulent oil paintings in lush detail reflect the turns of the story line as they parade in step with the youngest son on his desperate search for the missing tapestry that holds the fantastic landscape of his mother's dreams. And, while the phrase ‘happily ever after’ is never uttered, delighted readers and listeners can rest assured it applies to the comforting conclusion. Grade 1-4.” — School Library Journal

“Sanderson combines elements from the Chinese story ‘The Magic Brocade’ and the Norwegian tale ‘Princess on the Glass Hill’ in this seamless, stately picture book for older readers. Anna, whose brocades are known far and wide, awakens one night knowing she must weave what she saw in her dream. For nearly three years, she is driven by her vision of a marble mansion set among orchards, hills, and streams, but when her tapestry is complete, the winds of the fairies of the crystal mountain steal it. Anna's three sons go, one at a time, to rescue the dream tapestry. It is the third one, persevering the fiery plain and the icy sea, who finally climbs the crystal mountain where the fairies hold his mother’s life work. He retrieves it, but a red-and-gold fairy embroiders herself into its threads. When the young man arrives home and unfurls the tapestry, it shimmers into life, as does the fairy. The beautiful oil paintings are rich with medieval allusion and full of flora, fauna, and details—a lion's head on a horse's trappings, the lace of a fairy wing—that engage the eye again and again. The complex ending, a bit more than happily ever after, will give young readers something additional to think about.” — Booklist

“A retelling of the Chinese legend of the magic brocade, here set in 15th-century Europe, combined with elements from the Norwegian tale about the princess and the glass hill. It's the story of three brothers and their mother, Anna, who weaves a magnificent tapestry that is subsequently stolen by the Fairies of the Crystal Mountain. When the first two sons fail to recover the tapestry, third and youngest Perrin succeeds at three impossible tasks that gain him passage to the palace. There, he rescues his mother's tapestry with the help of the Red Fairy, who becomes his true love. Sanderson keeps the happily-ever-after ending intact, sparing the brothers the harsh punishment of the original version. The artist’s rendition of Anna's ideal weaving mirrors the intricate unicorn tapestries of the Middle Ages, replete with endless paradisiacal gardens, lovely creatures, and pomegranate trees. Sanderson's lush, detailed oil paintings are perfectly suited to the theater of fairy tale, where blood red bays may be summoned by a whistle’s trill, and heroes climb mountains of crystal to reach palaces inhabited by velvet-clothed princesses.” — Kirkus Reviews

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Of Related Interest:
Papa Gatto
The Golden Mare, the Firebird, and the Magic Ring
Enchanted Wood, The