Virginia Haviland

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 122

[The Squirrel Wife] is constructed of fairy-tale components: a protagonist, Jack, an overworked young swineherd; a species of fairymen—the green people; and the motif of kindness rewarded by magic. Paralleling the seal-wife or fox-wife of folklore is Jack's brown-haired, brown-eyed squirrel-wife…. Jack's older brother, jealous of Jack's well-being, caused him to be jailed and lose his squirrel-wife. But a perfectly wrought solution sweetens the tale…. Relayed with the directness of a long-known tale, but with more shadings and tenderness, the narrative is as totally pleasing as any long-lived story. The creation of the little wife is charming….

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Virginia Haviland, "Spring Booklist: 'The Squirrel Wife'," in The Horn Book Magazine (copyright © 1972 by The Horn Book, Inc., Boston), Vol. XLVIII, No. 3, June, 1972, p. 265.

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Philippa Pearce


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