4.01.2011

Floating City: The Tale of Hilda Louise

The Tale of Hilda Louise
What better way to kick off "April in Paris" than to introduce you to Hilda Louise. Hilda Louise joins forces with Madeline and Mirette to create a trio of intrepid Parisian red-haired girls.

Oliver Dunrea's The Tale of Hilda Louise starts mysteriously, Hilda's parents have disappeared in the Swiss Alps, and even embroidering 2,357 handkerchiefs cannot save her from the boredom of living in an orphanage (loving environment, though it is). The opening image is that of Hilda Louise looking out of a big window at the city, knowing in that in all that bigness whatever she has lost is just waiting to be found. 

Things get even stranger, however, when one day Hilda Louise (how can you not love that name?) starts to float. How magnifique to be able to explore the city from above, like a bird. As you might guess, many familiar Paris features figure into Hilda Louise's flight, all of which fascinate her: sidewalk cafes, rooftop ledges where birds nest (after all, it's the city, not the country) cobblestone streets, artists wearing straw hats, and --of course -- gargoyles who, I'm guessing,  normally relish their solitude high above the city. But it's not a tourist's guide to the city. Dunrea wisely avoids that temptation.

Only when Hilda Louise finds her heart's desire can she finally come back down to earth. One can only hope for such a happy ending for the rest of us.

Want More?
Visit Olivier Dunrea's website.
Kirkus review.

Big Kid says: Flying is cool.
Little Kid says: That is a bird.

3 comments:

learning ALL the time!!/Susan said...

This sounds like a GREAT book!
Have you read "Linnea in Monet's Garden"? We love that book (there's also a DVD that's been made of the story), and it's set partially in Paris.

Brimful Curiosities said...

My! 2,357 handkerchiefs? Poor girl. And she floats? I know of two other books with floating characters, but I'm sure there are more. Now wouldn't that make an interesting storytime theme?

Raising a Happy Child said...

I wonder if daughter will deem the book too sad. Her biggest fear is losing her parents. It's understandable considering that she would have to float cross-country to land with her grandparents or cross Atlantic to reunite with her German side of the family.

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