The Glassmaker’s Daughter
Dianne Hofmeyr and Jane Ray
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Daniela is the daughter of a glassmaker living in Venice in the 16th century. So full of melancholy is she that her despairing father offers a glass palace as reward to the first person who can make his daughter smile. The palace is duly fashioned and people come from near and far to try and bring on that smile.
A flame swallower, a mask maker, a lion-tamer followed by ‘Glove makers, tart bakers, trumpet players, dragon slayers, monkey trickers, pocket pickers, bell ringers, opera singers, even sausage stringers‘ all fail miserably.
Then along comes young glassmaker, Angelo with the looking glass he’s carefully fashioned as a gift for Daniela. Now the girl has never seen such a thing before, nor has she seen the sight that meets her eyes when she looks into it as Angelo instructs. At first it’s her cross face that stares back, then as she begins to smile, so too does the mirror;
and when her smile gives way to laughter, the effect is truly dramatic in more ways than one …
And before long, the entire city of Venice is one laughing, dancing, ringing celebration of joyfulness.
Diane Hofmeyer takes a familiar fairytale theme and like Angelo in her story, fashions it into something new and special. We all know that true happiness lies within but it’s good to be reminded sometimes, especially in such a captivating way as this. (An introductory note gives some information about historic Venetian glassmaking.)
Jane Ray’s intricate images and vibrant scenes conjure up the fairy story-like Venice of the setting making every turn of the page both magical and memorable.