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The Faithful Friend by Robert D. San Souci

The Faithful Friend

by Robert D. San Souci

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I really thought this book was unique and not like any other book that I read. I love how it shows the friend ship between a Caucasian and an African American boy, and can allow young children to see it in a more positive way. ( )
  TBegum1 | Sep 20, 2013 |
In this engaging folktale from the Caribbean island of Martinique, two life-long friends - Clement, the son of a wealthy land-owner, and Hippolyte, the son of the French-born widow who was hired as his (Clement's) nurse - set out together to meet the beautiful young woman whose image has caused Clement to fall in love. Performing a good deed upon their journey, the two friends eventually arrive at Monsieur Zabocat's plantation, where they discover that the lovely Pauline is just as enchanting in person, as she is in her portrait. Unfortunately, although it is obvious that she and Clement have fallen instantly in love, her uncle, reputed to be a quimboiseur, or wizard, forbids the match. When the couple, accompanied by Hippolyte, sets out to be married regardless, they are pursued by the evil magic of Monsieur Zabocat, and the three zombies that he has raised. Only Hippolyte is aware of the danger, and only he can save his friends: but at great cost to himself, should he ever reveal what he knows...

Chosen as a Caldecott Honor Book in 1996, as well as given a Correta Scott King Illustrator's Award Honor, The Faithful Friend pairs beautiful scratch-board illustrations by Brian Pinkney with a powerful story of loyalty and mutual sacrifice from Robert D. San Souci, who has retold many folktales over the course of his long career. I appreciated the author's detailed description of his source material - what he retained from the Martiniquais version of this story, and what he added in - and hope to track down Elsie Clews Parsons' collection of folklore from the Antilles, at some point. I was interested to see that this story likely evolved from similar European stories, such as Faithful John, from the Brothers Grimm. The Venetian tale, Pome & Peel, has a very similar plot as well. All in all, a most engaging selection, one I recommend to all young folklore enthusiasts. I only wish I could find more folktales from Martinique! ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 5, 2013 |
This book is a good read because it teaches the meaning of friendship and how a true friend will always be concerned for the other's well-being. The pictures were done in scratch-board and the illustrations are a direct point of the texts on the corresponding page. ( )
  epalaz | Feb 6, 2013 |
The bright and beautiful illustrations of this story faithfully depict life on the tropical island of Martinique in the 1800’s, providing a useful lesson in culture for the reader and a feast for the eyes. The plot of the story unfolds quickly and in an engaging manner, leading the reader to hastily turn the pages to the exciting conclusion. The main themes are “friendship means caring more about the wellbeing of others than your own” and “what you wish upon others will return to you” (a lesson in karma). The even more overarching theme is “good conquers evil”, and that theme is played out expertly with plot twists that will leave the reader wondering how the story will end. Children of all ages would be entertained by the story and the illustrations, and would find value from these themes. I really enjoyed this unique retelling of an old fairytale in an exotic setting.
  Collene_Kuznicki | Jan 31, 2013 |
I thought that this story was very entertaining. It was especially so due to it being set in Martinique in the late 19th century. I enjoyed the theme of good winning over evil with the help of a person that the protagonist helped in the beginning of the story. I also enjoyed the window into life in Martinique. There were some French words and some other unique cultural elements in the story. This book would be a great resource when trying to introduce different time eras and cultures to students, as well as morals.
  Wakana | Jan 22, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0689824580, Paperback)

A friendship is tested by love and magic in this beautiful retelling of a traditional tale from the French West Indies.

On the lush tropical island of Martinique live Clement and Hippolyte, two inseparable friends. When Clement falls in love with the beautiful Pauline, Hippolyte agrees to join his best friend on his journey to propose marriage. But when Pauline accepts Clement’s proposal, it enrages her uncle Monsieur Zabocat—reputed to be a quimboiseur, a wizard. To prevent the wedding, the old wizard lures Hippolyte into a deadly trap, forcing him to choose between his friend’s safety and his own.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:24 -0400)

A retelling of the traditional tale from the French West Indies in which two friends, Clement and Hippolyte, encounter love, zombies, and danger on the island of Martinique.

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