The Well at the End of the World
Publication Date: July 2004
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Princess Rosamond isn't your typical princess. She prefers good books to good looks and keeps both the royal accounts and the castle drawbridge in working order. When her greedy stepmother and stepsister scheme to spend the royal treasury and her father, the king, falls ill, Rosamond must set out in search of the one thing that can cure him -- the healing waters found in the magical well at the end of the world.
In the spirit of The Talking Eggs, award-winning author Robert San Souci has once again created a feisty heroine whose generosity and courage save the day combined with Rebecca Walsh's vibrant paintings. This is an adventure story that readers will turn to again and again.
Robert D. San Souci has retold numerous traditional tales and legends, including The Talking Egg, and The Faithful Friend, both of which received Caldecott Honors and Coretta Scott King Honors. He lives in Northern California.
Rebecca Walsh graduated in 2000 from The Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in illustration. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband. This is her first children's book.
Though stories of feisty, unfussy princesses are no longer in short supply, San Souci's retelling of a little-known British folktale featuring a girl who "prefers good books to good looks" crackles with brio. It begins with a familiar setup: the King of Colchester's homely, but canny, daughter Rosamonde finds herself saddled with a harpy of a stepmother and a snooty stepsister. When these dastardly opponents compromise the health of both the kingdom and the king, the compassionate Rosamonde journeys to a healing well. She returns trailing gemstones from her hair--a blessing from the well's guardians--and her jealous stepsister promptly visits the same well, where she's cursed with a permanent bad hair day. In keeping with the "beauty-is-only-skin-deep" message, newcomer Walsh bothers less about painting pretty fairy-tale scenes than she does about expressing characters' inner natures and catching the easygoing humor of San Souci's text; Rosamonde may be the first princess in picture-book history to harness her crown under her chin with a sensible strap. --Booklist
" there's so much to savor in this handsome presentation. Adults will love the sumptuous look of it, and teachers and storytellers will find many uses for this appreciative rendering of Aesop." --Kirkus Reviews