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Buttons    by Brock Cole order for
by Brock Cole
Order:  USA  Can
Sunburst, 2004 (2000)
Hardcover, Softcover
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This is a delightfully silly take on the traditional tale of the king who sends sons out on quest, to see who should be his heir. In Buttons, the portly old dad 'ate so much his britches burst and his buttons popped' into the fire. Since he's in dire need of fastenings, his daughters decide to help, each in her own fashion.

The eldest parades in her finest clothes on the Palace Bridge, in search of a rich husband as a button provider. Middle daughter joins the army, disguised as a boy - since soldier's uniforms have lots of brass buttons. The 'young and rabbity' youngest doesn't have a plan at all. She runs in the meadows, apron held out, hoping for buttons to rain from the sky. Of course, the best laid plans, as always, go awry.

When daughter number one ends up rescued from the river by a 'handsome young bargee', she quickly forgets about buttons. Middle daughter joins the army, saves a young ensign, and soon also has other things on her mind than her father's problem. The youngest keeps on trying, day after day after day ... and buttons do eventually rain from the sky into her apron.

Buttons is charming and slightly silly, with a few messages lurking underneath the comedy - about the collision of plans and life, the power of hope, and the merits of 'try, try again'.

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