rating: 4 of 5 stars
"Old memories mean nothing to me" --Hazel Dickens
This book stimulated shadowy memories of a teacher reading all or part of this book during classroom storytime, or maybe it was just a similar story. Whatever the case, at various points I sensed myself sitting on the floor of my pale yellow 1st grade classroom in the Petaluma hills, the blinds drawn to dim the room, feeling the resonance of the woman's enthusiastic voice, think it my have been Mrs. Geotzinger with her dark hair, during a string of cloudy & rainy days in 1976.
It took a number of tries to get my son & daughter interested, but once we got going with a real book mark & all it was on. I enjoyed it quite, as did the wee ones. The thing that got me the best turned out to be the cold, illustrated with snow & ice & wind & bare feet with forgotten jackets. Hans wrote a cut above for this one, in my opinion, seemed to take more than his typical degree of care with the sentence composition, with very balanced and complementary themes - men & women, heat & cold, animals & humans, kindness & cruelty, heaven & hell, reality & illusion, old age & youth, all the deep topics to which humans perpetually return. A part of my soul dwells in the Snow Queen's palace evermore, in a vast hall of ice & pain, layered illusions entwined intimately with razor shard frosted edges of eternal death. One could think of it as how I might remodel A Clean Well Lighted Place For Books.
At the end Hans goes uberChristian on us, but I forgive him this, chalking it up to the time & place in which the dear boy dreamed up his darling little masterpiece.
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