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The Glassmaker's Daughter
Dianne Hofmeyr, illus Jane Ray


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Nikki Stiles, 5
An enchanting story about Daniela; a Glassmaker's melancholy daughter. Set in the beautiful city of Venice, this story dates back to the 16th Century when glassmakers were important figures in the city, in charge of closely guarding the secret recipe for making glass.

Daniela, despite her father's numerous attempts to cheer her up, was always 'gloomy, glum and bored'. In a bid to please his daughter, Daniela's father promised a glass palace to the first person who could make her smile. Many tried their best but unfortunately failed to please her, except one; Angelo, a young glassmaker who had something new up his sleeve. Angelo makes the first looking glass. This not only makes her smile but seeing her own glum reflection turn into a smile makes her laugh, which in turn makes the whole town laugh along with her until she laughs so hard and so much that the palace smashes to smitherines!

The illustrations by Jane Ray are so delightfully rich. The double page spread of the palace exploding is by far one of the best illustrations I've seen recently, as you turn onto that page, it just blows you away with its vibrant foils and collage pieces of glass splintering out.

This book has a beautiful message - that happiness is comes from within. This is a good book to use to teach PSHE throughout the primary school setting, discussing the fact that material things will only make us happy for a short while but we can all make ourselves happy.

I read this book with my six-year-old daughter and when I asked her 'what could you learn about?' with this story, she instantly suggested 'Art'; making a looking glass of your own using foils, or children could design and make their own smiley masks like those made by Donna Violetta in the story.

Picture book / Ages 6+ / Reviewed by Nikki Stiles, teacher.


 
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