The Sweetest Fig

This lesser-known work by Chris Van Allsburg, the same author-illustrator as The Polar Express and Jumanji, is no less good. Offering the same mix of whimsy with matter-of-fact narration, the story tells of two magic figs that lead to a strange adventure. School Library Journal: “In this modern fairy tale, a Parisian dentist (a prissy and sadistic man who even hates his own dog) is given two magic figs by an old woman who tells him, ‘They can make your dreams come true.’ Bibot scoffs. However, after the first fig proves to do exactly that (in a scene in which the dentist walks down the street in his underwear, and then the Eiffel Tower droops over), he realizes how precious they are. Night after night, he hypnotizes himself into dreaming that he is the richest man on earth. Finally, he prepares to eat the second fig. But his dog, Marcel, beats him to it, and the following morning, the dentist wakes up as [the dog]… The Sweetest Fig is a superb blend of theme, language, and illustration, with a very grabbing plot.” Giggle factor: not applicable; a mind-bender instead. Adult enjoyment: likely. Illustrations: for kids, four jelly jars; five for adults. (James always asks why the illustrations are in black and white, as clearly he would prefer color.) Also recommended by the same author: The Garden of Abdul Gasazi.

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~ by kaychubbuck on March 8, 2011.

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