He may be massive and burly, but this rich giant of the north woods is no match for tiny, whip-smart Beatrice. Determined to dupe the big guy out of his gold coins in order to put porridge on her poor mother's table, Beatrice proposes a match of strength. Amused, the giant agrees, only to be hoodwinked again and again by the wee lass.
Margaret Willey's clever version of the classic brains vs. brawn yarn rises above and beyond the garden-variety fairy tale by virtue of Heather Solomon's stunning, unusual illustrations. Incorporating photo scraps of flowers and wood grain into her watercolor, oil, and acrylic paintings, Solomon creates richly textured visions of the upper peninsula of Michigan. Especially magical are the portrayals of men fishing, mining, and logging in the densely wooded northern landscape. We can only hope that this, Solomon's first venture into picture books, is just the beginning of a long, prolific career. (Ages 5 to 9) --Emilie Coulter [via]