Jeanette Winter «The changeling»
Rooted in Scandinavian and Celtic folklore, the theme of an innocent baby being replaced with a homely, ill-tempered troll or fairy child has intrigued writers for generations. Nobel-laureate Lagerlof drew upon the literature of her native Sweden to create this original story of a woman whose maternal instinct is so strong that she treats the changeling just as she would her own beloved child. Her concern for the troll’s safety finally results in the release of her son. Told in the style of a European folktale, this translation is very readable. However, the length of the text and its sophisticated language make it suitable for middle graders. Bright illustrations in muted tones range in size from one-third page to full-page paintings, each framed on two sides by harmoniously tinted borders. Although the paintings are quite detailed, Winter’s flat, folk-art style featuring plain-faced peasants gives them a look of simplicity. From cover to endpapers to handsomely illustrated text, the overall effect is most pleasing.