This is the cat
that caught the magpie
that stole Princess Allbring’s ring…
And what’s this?…
Princess Allbring is a classical accumulative tale, adapted to the outcome and the way it is presented, that shows the most typical elements of the series which appear in Europe: cat, dog, stick, fire, water… With this type of tale, children learn to see relations, establish connections, generalizations and predictions. Part of the presentation of the character who gives the tale its title is a narrative event with a short sentence:
“This is the magpie that stole Princess Allbring’s ring.” To that action, new elements will be added mathematically. The missing element constitutes the story line and gives rise to a happy ending, closing the cycle in a circular way and re-establishes the order as at the beginning of the tale: “This is the shepherd that found the ring that was rewarded a kiss from Princess Allbring”. The repetition of the events also favours the memorizing of the text. In many versions, the accumulative style ends up representing death in a variety of forms (knife, butcher…).
The series is similar and found in formula tales that appear in Northern Europe: chest, key, rope, mouse, cat, stick, axe, blacksmith…
In all of them, the quickness of the action helps to follow the sequence; besides, the quickness in the passing of the events is presented in a structure which plays with the receiver’s curiosity, to attract the maximum interest and favour the development of comprehension, imagination and the sense of aesthetics.
Javier Solchaga offers a special proposal of three dimensional illustrations, elaborated from recycled elements (bottles, wood, stones, wire…). The play on composition and lighting which photography surprises us, contributes an added value to the book.
The illustrator presents objects and characters (ring, handkerchief, stick…) from an impossible angle, so that the reader tries to guess the main subject of the following action. Text and image complement each other in a tale that reveals other points of view and awakens the imagination in the youngest readers.
Text by Patacrúa, from European popular tale
Illustrations by Javier Solchaga
Translation by Mark W. Heslop