cover image Dulcinea in the Forbidden Forest

Dulcinea in the Forbidden Forest

Ole Könnecke, trans. from the German by Shelley Tanaka. Gecko, $18.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-77657-395-0

Cartoon-style illustrations feature black outlines and round-eyed, pale-skinned, noodle-limbed characters in this endearing modern fairy tale by Könnecke. Written and adeptly translated in clear blocks of detailed text reminiscent of classic storybooks (“They had a cow for milk, chickens for eggs, and fruit trees and currant bushes in the garden”), the narrative follows a brave, pink-skinned girl named Dulcinea, who sets out into the forbidden forest on her birthday with her ever-present pet fowl to find the paper-white witch who cast a spell on her father. Venturing into the forest seeking blueberries for Dulcinea’s birthday pancakes, Dulcinea’s father has been turned into a tree, and only the child’s ingenuity saves her from a similar transformative fate. Könnecke offers gentle comedy throughout: “Besides, nothing bad could happen to you on your birthday, could it?” Concise chapters move the pace along as readers follow Könnecke’s inky, black-outlined art in a tale for those who love magic, fairy tales, and blueberries on their pancakes. Ages 5–9. (Sept.)