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The Hero of Bremen Hardcover – September, 1993
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From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 3-6. This moving legend within a legend tells of Hans the Cobbler, a disabled shoemaker who loves to share stories about Roland, the famous knight who saved the walled city of Bremen during the Dark Ages and who, according to Hans, will come again in time of need. The citizens of the overcrowded city need more land and hope to buy some from a wealthy countess whose nephew offers to sell them "all the land that a man can walk around in a day." But then he picks Hans to be that man. With the help of the hero Roland, who appears to Hans and stops time, the humble shoemaker is able to complete his journey, crawling on "knuckles and knee." As usual, Mikolaycak's realistic watercolor and colored pencil drawings have powerful lines, sculptural forms, and a strong narrative quality. Inspired by the varnished sixteenth-century paintings of Hans Holbein, the architectural and costume details establish the Renaissance setting. This eloquent retelling of a gentle, little-known tale honoring the chivalric virtues of service and sacrifice is all the more beautiful for its understated quality; the documentation is detailed and scholarly. A treat for reading aloud, this may lead middle-graders to stories about Roland, such as Jay Williams' prose version, The Horn of Roland (1968). Julie Corsaro
Top customer reviews
I think it was put together very well and there was a good meaning to the story, which is that it doesn't matter what shape and size a hero is.
Intended for grades 3-6.