Booklist - Schnitzel
Shaw warns readers of the perils of laziness in this retelling of Goethe’s “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” while Barry sets the eerie, gothic mood with his Gorey-esque, watercolor-and-ink illustrations, sparingly scattering color over gray-washed scenes. The tale begins in a dusty stone castle, where lazy young Schnitzel is apprenticed to the renowned wizard Sir Willibald. In lieu of a magical education, however, the boy is expected to clean the castle without the help of spells. One night, Schnitzel is saved from the horrors of vacuuming (the appliance is a literal beast!) by the serendipitous arrival of a vacuum-cleaner salesman, eager to be of service. Unfazed by the stranger’s pointy fangs and opera cloak, Schnitzel invites the salesman in, with catastrophic results. Only through Sir Willibald’s intervention does Schnitzel live to clean another day and finally learn the value of hard work. Large-scale illustrations and rhythmic text make this cautionary tale an entertaining read-aloud, and the concluding author’s note on the story’s source prompts readers to create their own versions.