The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Ichabod Crane’s got it bad, and that ain’t good. Or so we’re reminded in this skillful and scary retelling of the Washington Irving story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Irving created an American original in the scarecrow-thin bachelor who becomes the stern schoolmaster of Sleepy Hollow and sets his sights on a rich man’s daughter.
Illustrator Robert Van Nutt, using still pictures and occasional animated figures, captures the beauty of the valley and the sense of foreboding that pervades it. Even his trees are creepy. Of course, nothing enhances creepiness like a little unnerving instrumental music, provided in this case by Tim Story. Reader Glenn Close seems as comfortable giving voice to the scheming Ichabod as she is to the lovely Katrina Van Tassel, the object of his affection in this tale of nearly fatal attraction.
Brom Bones, who is everything Ichabod isn’t — good-looking, athletic, and admired — also has eyes for Katrina. After watching her dine and dance with Ichabod at a party, Brom reminds Ichabod about the legend of the headless horseman, a ghost haunting the hollow. Ichabod is quaking in his boots as he mounts his horse to ride home. Sure enough, the figure of a decapitated man on horseback (assumed to be Brom) chases him through the countryside. Terrified, Ichabod rides off and never returns.
Shortly thereafter, Brom marries Katrina, thereby proving that in matters of the heart, it’s perfectly natural — and sometimes even beneficial — to lose your head. A