The Little Golden Lamb
"A Hungarian version of the folktale "The Golden Goose," in which a flute-playing shepherd boy wins the hand of an ailing princess who must laugh to be cured. The sight of the boy leading a risible procession of serving maid, baker woman, and priest, all of whom are stuck to his little golden lamb, does the trick at once. Ellin Greene's storytelling style here is at once classic ("there once lived a poor man whose wife dies, leaving their little son motherless") and relaxed ("she had in mind to steal it, you know, but just then her hand stuck fast to the lamb's tail"). The cumulative element of the tale is handled with a light touch, with some variation in the repetition, but each new addition in the procession ends with the same phrase: "and the little golden lamb carried them all, dancing down the road." Rosanne Litzinger's illustrations, in a soft, springtime palette, are fittingly buoyant--almost pneumatic--with backgrounds of rounded hills like so many billowing green balloons, and comically gravity-proof dancers."
"The text has clearly been shaped by a storyteller--'Down the road they went,/The shepherd lad playing his flute,/The little golden lamb kicking up its heels,/ On the lamb's tail the girl,/On the girl's back the baker's peel,/...And the little golden lamb carried them all,/ dancing down the road.' Litzinger's energetic watercolor and colored-pencil drawings capture the humor and absurdity of the tale. Though Uri Shulevitz's rollicking version, The Golden Goose (Farrar, 1995), is still in print, The Little Golden Lamb is a joyous tale, with a beautiful blend of text and illustration. A read-aloud treasure."
--School Library Journal
Greene (Ling-Li and the Phoenix Fairy) turns to a Hungarian version of "The Golden Goose" for this jaunty story. It has all the elements of a favorite folktale --a hard-working lad seeking his fortune, an animal with magical properties, a king ready to pay three bags of gold to anyone who can make his ailing daughter laugh and a cast of supporting characters whose misdemeanors are redeemed as the stuff of mirth. All these pieces cohere in a radiantly silly climax featuring a line of people stuck to each other and compelled to dance like the golden lamb at the head of the procession that travels right past the princess's window. Greene's lighthearted text moves along at a swift pace, befitting the fleet feet of the characters. Litzinger (Louella Mae, She's Run Away!) employs a sunny palette -- one that is considerably more robust than the slightly bleached-looking cover art suggests. Her watercolor and pencil compositions puckishly exaggerate rounded forms, so that hillsides, trees and horizons become almost circular, and people and animals balloon to cheerful roly-poly shapes. She matches Greene in her pleasant mix of fantasy and whimsy. Ages 4-7. --Publishers Weekly