I remember writing a review years ago (can't track it down now) in which I said I'd read a grocery list if Kate DiCamillo wrote it. I stand by that sentiment. Kate DiCamillo has the ability to take the most basic, simple of stories and make it captivating.
I bring that up only because it was rather hard to pin down what is so wonderful about Kate's newest book, The Puppets of Spelhorst. The ostensible main characters of this original fairy tale are puppets, therefore they cannot make choices or—in themselves—move the action forward. They move from the hands of one person to another, hardly allowing the reader the pleasure of following any human character just as you start to really care about them. The story is simple. The entire drama unfolds in under 150 small, highly illustrated pages.
And yet… it's no grocery list.
Kate DiCamillo's storytelling is incisive. With simple language and not a single wasted word, she gets to the heart of what it means to be human, what courage looks like, what beauty can do to us, what it means to be part of a story. She masterfully weaves together the simple, passing tales of each of the humans the puppets encounter as the toys look for their own story, and only the reader can really see the deeper story, the deeper roles they play.
To borrow a quote from the book itself, the feeling I had the entire time reading it was, "It's all so beautiful… I wonder what will happen next."
Finally, I can't neglect to mention Julie Morstad's gorgeous illustrations. They complement and enhance the simplicity and beauty of the author's writing perfectly. A complete delight.
Hi! I'm Faith. I blog about books and creativity, family and faith. Welcome!