Good Griselle

Author Yolen, Jane.
Language English
Prince Frederick MD Recorded Books, 1997


Also issued as Recorded Books Fiction on Cassette.

Subjects :

  • Babies
  • Fiction
  • Angels

Back to Top

Author Illustrator(s) :

Back to Top

Best Books :

  • Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, October 1994 Cahners

Back to Top

Awards, Honors & Prizes :

  • Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature, 1995 Finalist United States

Back to Top

Reading Measurement Programs:

Harcourt Brace (San Diego:) 1994.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Middle Grade
Book Level 5.4
Accelerated Reader Points 0

Back to Top

Reviews :

Christie (BookHive (
This story is set in Paris and is about stone statues of angels and gargoyles placing bets on the lace maker, Griselle, to see just how good she really is. The test they give Griselle is to take care of the ugliest baby she has ever seen. A true test of character, you'll root for Griselle and hope that her goodness will triumph. David Christiana's lush watercolors are full of warmth but also contain a dark and strange uniqueness. The emotions displayed on faces look realistic whether on a living person or on the stone statues. They are an excellent complement to the story. Category: Folklore; Novello; Read Aloud. Grade Level: Primary (K-3rd grade); Intermediate (4th-6th grade). 1994, Harcourt Brace. Ages 5 to 12.
(PUBLISHER: Harcourt Brace (San Diego:), PUBLISHED: c1994.)

Hazel Rochman (Booklist, October 1, 1994 (Vol. 91, No. 3))
The angels and gargoyles carved on an old cathedral are the characters in an original fairy tale about an ugly changeling. Set at Christmas, this is also a kind of Nativity story. Griselle is so beautiful and good that she gives away half her food to the cats and birds. The grumbling gargoyles can't stand her, and they have a wager with the angels to test Griselle's goodness by sending her an ugly and unlovable child. He arrives at her door on Christmas. She takes him in and loves him. Nothing will make her abandon him, not even the man she loves, not even her own safety. She is the child's savior, and her love transforms him. The book design is handsome, with some hand lettering and with watercolor paintings of depth and mystery that evoke the sculptured figures in stone shades of gray and brown. Some pictures are like panels; some show the gargoyles bursting out like evil happenings and ugly feelings. One realistic view of the child clutching the battered mother is a heartbreaking madonna image. Like Winter's illustrated version of Lagerlof's The Changeling (1991), this may appeal more to adults than young children, but it will touch anyone who imagines a story about those strange figures carved in stone. Category: For the Young. 1994, Harcourt, $14.95. Gr. 2-4.
(PUBLISHER: Harcourt Brace (San Diego:), PUBLISHED: c1994.)

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1994)
In old Paris, a wager is placed between stone angels standing tall on a cathedral wall and stone gargoyles squatting precariously on cathedral ledges. The gargoyles, speaking in voices "passersby mistake for the rumbling of carts," bet that the good, kind lacemaker Griselle cannot love an ugly little boy; the angels, cooing like pigeons, smugly bet that she can. The angels win. Griselle welcomes the ugly boy, who smells as ripe as "a dish of milk left out too long" and is as heavy "as a sin," and she dresses him in clothes fashioned from her own, including her pearl-studded wedding dress. Although she is cruelly tested, she proves her worth and loves the child -- she even scolds the angels for calling him ugly. When Griselle dies, her boy disappears. But one can still see him at the cathedral, writes Yolen (Beneath the Ghost Moon, p. 1142, etc.; Old Dame Counterpane, see below): He is the ugly little stone angel with the "absolutely angelic smile." Told with language as precise -- and illustrated with watercolors as delicate -- as the "miracles of lace" the heroine creates. 1994, Harcourt Brace, $14.95. © 1994 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
(PUBLISHER: Harcourt Brace (San Diego:), PUBLISHED: c1994.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
Yolen reaches new heights in this flawless tale. Patterned after the story of Job, it concerns one Griselle, a lace maker in Paris of long ago. Reports of her goodness so enrage the gargoyles on a nearby cathedral that they place a wager one Christmas Eve with their holy counterparts, the stone angels. Their bet? To test Griselle's goodness by thrusting upon her "an ugly and unlovable child." The angels consent, and the gargoyles send a hideous, squalling imp to the woman's doorstep. Though the foundling tests her sorely indeed, Griselle proves faithful, and in a particularly poignant ending, her place in heaven and that of her homely but much loved son are assured. The prose is lush but exquisitely restrained, and moves to the measured cadences of another, more gracious era. The story creates new opportunities for Christiana's (White Nineteens) brooding, mysterious watercolor art. Part impressionist, part Arthur Rackham, wholly original, rendered largely in shades of gray but with an occasional touch of color, the illustrations reveal a world where crouching gargoyles hint of dark purposes and the shadowed and oblique are infinitely more intriguing than the overt. In a word, heavenly. Ages 7-up. (Oct.)
(PUBLISHER: Harcourt Brace (San Diego:), PUBLISHED: c1994.)

John Niessink (Audiofile, February 1998)
This magical fable about a woman's incorruptible goodness is strongly reminiscent of the fairy tales of Oscar Wilde. Like Wilde's stories, it can be enjoyed by a child, but only fully appreciated by an adult. Yolen's language isn't as extravagant as Wilde's, but it is mannered, slightly archaic and poetic, in a way that demands a performance with a certain deliberation and stateliness. John McDonough, however, takes it over the edge into ponderousness. He sounds as if the words were too heavy to lift and takes more time than necessary to get them all on tape. This small gem deserves a better setting. J.N. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine Unabridged. 1997 (orig. 1994), Recorded Books, One cassettes, .5 hrs., Book pak, $10.00.
(PUBLISHER: Recorded Books (Prince Frederick MD:), PUBLISHED: p1997.)

Recorded Books (Recorded Books, LLC.)
Long ago, Griselle, a beautiful young lace maker, lived in Paris with her jolly soldier husband. One day he marched off to war, but Griselle stayed busy and happy while waiting for him to return. Every day, rain or shine, she walked to the cathedral to scatter bread crumbs for the birds and put out dishes of milk for the hungry cats. Year after year, the stone angels on the cathedral wall watch her and praise her goodness. But the stone gargoyles on the ledges grumble. Soon they think of a terrible plan. They bet that they can make Griselle act cruelly. In Good Griselle, Jane Yolen, popular award-winning author for children, spins a bewitching tale of love, hope, and evil. Narrator John McDonough brings the cast of enchanted angels, sullen gargoyles, and lovely Griselle to life. n.d., Recorded Books, Unabridged Cassette - Library Edition; 95168, $15.75. Ages 5 to 11.
(PUBLISHER: Recorded Books (Prince Frederick MD:), PUBLISHED: p1997.)

Back to Top

Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
Prince Frederick MD Recorded Books, 1997

Media Type: Nonmusical Sound Recording
1 sound cassette (30 min.):
PZ7.Y78 ([Fic])
"Fiction on cassette with book."-Container.
An unabridged recording of the book.
In container (23 cm.).
San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1994

Media Type: Language Material
1 v. (unpaged):
PZ7.Y78 ([Fic])

Back to Top