cover image The Hero of Bremen

The Hero of Bremen

Margaret Hodges. Holiday House, $17.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-0934-1

The late Mikolaycak's stirring art graces the pages of this eloquent retelling by Hodges ( The Kitchen Knight ; Saint Patrick and the Peddler , Children's Forecasts, Aug. 23). The double-tiered plot centers on Hans, a courageous cobbler whose legs are not strong enough to support him. Moving along on his knuckles and knees, the good-natured fellow is a friend to everyone in town--particularly to the children, with whom he shares tales of Roland, the brave knight who died helping his uncle, Charlemagne, free the town of Bremen. Now Bremen needs help again, for its population is growing and cannot be contained within the city walls. How Hans--against great odds--becomes the hero of the land, with the wondrous intervention of the hero of his legends, makes a grand, memorable tale. Micolaycak, using watercolors on diazo prints made from pencil drawings, meticulously crafts his period illustrations, an inspired complement to Hodges's adroit storytelling. However, the book design detracts from the visual impact of the art--spread across facing pages, the pictures inauspiciously lose details to the gutters. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)