Hiddensee: Like many of Maguire’s other books, this is a new and reality (with some supposed magic) slanted look at a childhood classic- in this case, the Nutcracker. Hiddensee follows Drosselmeier from his childhood, through to his elder years, and is set in Germany around the time the Grimms were compiling their tales. Along the way, Drosselmeier loses his way in a dark wood, is given a name, makes a friend, meets a woman who has lost her childhood, and much more. He becomes the elderly toymaker we know from the Nutcracker, and his tale continues with Klara.
Hiddensee, like many of Maguire’s other books I have read, hits me as slightly wanting more, but knowing you won’t find it in the book. I enjoy reading the books, but typically only read them once or twice before passing them on. I know many readers who love Maguire’s books and read them time and time again, and Hiddensee will be one of the books that, for the fans, will be reread over and over.
It is well written and historically and culturally fits well with the time period it is set in. We get a good view of what may have made Drosselmeier who and what he was, and even, very faintly, a glimpse of the tale of the Nutcracker. I recommend this book for Maguire fans, of course, and for anyone who enjoys retellings.
Ivy and the Lonely Raincloud: Ivy and the Lonely Raincloud is another gem from Katie Harnett (written AND illustrated). It is the story of a raincloud who loses his friends, and goes in search of a new friend. No one wants him around, though, until he meets Ivy, a gardener who is cranky everywhere. Eventually, the raincloud and Ivy become friends.
I have to say, Katie Harnett is one of my favorite children's authors and illustrators. Her stories and artwork meld perfectly, and appeal to a good range of ages, from itty bitty chicks who cannot read on their own, to older chicks who can read on their own and still enjoy a book with charming pictures and a sweet story.
This book meets any expectations I might have had- the story was simple, and had a very good message (I'll let you learn that lesson on your own;) ). The illustrations were beautiful and well rendered. I recommend this book for everyone- as with the best of children's books, even grown chicks will find a lesson and some warm fuzzies.