The Puppets of Spelhorst

Candlewick. (Norendy Tales: Bk. 1). Oct. 2023. 160p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781536216752.
Gr 2-5–Five puppets are displayed in a shop windowa king, wolf, girl, boy, and an owleach with their own dream. The king just wants an opportunity to rule like kings do. The wolf has the fiercest and sharpest of teeth. The girl wishes to see more of the world. The boy, equipped with his bow and arrows, feels destined to do great things. And the owl, who is made of real feathers, dreams of flying. The puppets sit and wait for a story to begin, though as toys, they have very little agency in making those dreams come true. One day, an old sea captain takes the puppets home in a trunk. After writing for a long time, the sea captain cries himself to sleep and doesn’t wake up in the morning. As the puppets find their way to a new home, a new story begins. The story unfolds, and through ups and downs, the one thing that’s constant is that the puppets have one another. No matter what happens, their story is a shared one. This is the first title in the “Norendy Tales” trilogy from beloved author DiCamillo. The text is accompanied by delightful digitally rendered black-and-white pencil drawings by the wonderful Morstad. The illustrations bring the puppets to life and add to the magic and whimsy of the tale. With themes of love and loss, this chapter book reminds us there is light to be found in every darkness.
VERDICT An enchanting and original fairy tale that will delight both young and old.

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