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***The Countess's Calamity

by Sally Gardner

Reviewed September 2, 2003.
Bloomsbury Children’s Books, New York, 2003.  128 pages.
$10.47 in hardcover on
Available at Sembach Library (JF GAR).

This is a nice story for kids ready for a chapter book, but one that is not too daunting.

Five dolls have been left in a box in the park under a bush.  They don’t know why.  The Countess is sure that they must be a present, and someone will come soon to open them up.

When a mouse family comes to rescue them and help them adjust to living in the park, she doesn’t want to listen.  Nor does she heed his warnings about the sinister park keeper and his mangy cat.

Something special about this book is the exquisite pictures.  On the back flap, we learn that the author built and decorated a box for the dolls which she photographed for the illustrations.  They are beautiful, with the dolls and mice present as cartoons probably on cardboard cut-outs.  The effect is exquisite, like seeing into a miniature world.

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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