Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Glassblower's Children a book review



Quote of the day:

"Glassblowing is an animal unto itself, it requires skill, knowledge, physical strength and respect." 

Featured book of the day:



Title: The Glassblower's Children
Author:  Maria Gripe

A New York Review Children's Collection







It comes with illustrations:


About the book:

This splendid fairytale is of German origin.  An impoverished glassblower, named Albert, lives with his beloved wife Sophia and their two children, Klas and Klara.  He creates beautiful glass bowls and vases that are unique and extraordinary. Unfortunately they are so impractical that no one buys from him forcing his wife to work in the fields to supplement their living needs. 

He packs up his wears each year and takes his family to a local fair to hopefully sell his goods.  It is at the fair that Flutter Mildweather comes into their lives.  She is a weaver of tapestries, tells people's fortunes and is involved with witchcraft.  She owns a one-eyed raven named Wise Wit who can only see good in the world.  They live in isolation away from the rest of the villagers. Klas and Klara are spotted by a very wealthy Lord and Lady of All Wishes Town.  The couple have everything at their disposal but they do not have any children.  The Lord takes it upon himself to kidnap the children to give to his lovely, unhappy wife, hoping that the children will make her happy once again.  

Klaus and Klara find themselves prisoners in the Lord's mansion surrounded by the River of Forgotten Memories.  Their only playmates are reflections of themselves in the mirrors that line the grand hallways.  A controlling and evil Nanny is hired for the children and their quality of life diminishes even more.  What is to  be done?  Their parents don't know their whereabouts and they themselves cannot escape.  Is this to be their destiny?

Just as their very lives are at risk, Flutter Mildweather, and her raven companion, arrive to rescue them from their hopeless existence.  The book is full of vivid, strange characters and makes you think about the difference between what you want and what you really need.  

This book is reprinted in a beautiful edition with the original white-on-black etched illustrations. This mystical, allegorical story won the 1974 Hans Christian Anderson Award.  I highly recommend this book.



About the author:





Maria Gripe (1923–2007) was born Maja Stina Walter in Sweden’s Stockholm archipelago, the daughter of an army captain. She attended Stockholm University, where she studied philosophy and the history of religion, and in 1946 married the artist Harald Gripe. Though she wrote stories from the time she was a child, Gripe did not publish her first book until she was thirty-one. Her first notable success came in the 1960s with a trilogy of books about Hugo and Josephine, and in 1964 she published Glasblåsarns barn, translated into English as The Glassblower’s Children in 1973. In 1974 she received Hans Christian Andersen Award, the most prestigious prize given to a writer of children’s literature. She adapted many of her books for radio, television, and film; in 1998 a movie adaptation of The Glassblower’s Children, starring Stellan Skarsgård, was released. Among Gripe’s books translated into English are The Night DaddyElvis and His Secret, and Agnes Cecilia.




Book review rating:  9 (Close to perfection!)



Read on and read always!  Carpe diem.




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