Why I Read It: I enjoyed the author’s other story, The Adventures of Stanley Delacourt.
Where I Got It: Free on Smashswords.
Who I Recommend This To: Great story for kids, and for parents to read to kids.
Publisher: Self-published (2013)
Length: 20 pages
This was a charming retelling of a classic, and provided a lesson not just for children but for everyone – essentially we should all be kind to one another. And look at that cover. How could you not enjoy a book with that cover? The town of Hamlin has a rat problem, and the Mayor agrees to pay a traveling musician to dance the rats out of town for good. Pied Piper isn’t just any musician, and his music isn’t only that of a flute. No, his haunting melodies, pointy ears, and ability to speak with the rats tells the reader he is much more.
This tale follows the classic storyline in that The Piper removes the rats and then the Mayor makes the mistake of paying The Piper one quarter of the agreed upon price. So, of course the children must be taken next. But instead of being the typical sinister tale (which supposedly originated due to a plague outbreak that took the town’s children), Ilana Waters twists the tale in a unique way. Instead of reflecting the sadness of mass graves (which were often the results of the plague in 1500s Germany), the author shows how people can slip into every day unkindness, and pass those traits on to their children if they are not careful.
I won’t spoil the ending for you, so let me just say that it is clever and I was not expecting it. Also Waters provides some discussion questions at the end about when, if ever, it is OK for a child to go off with a stranger.
What I Liked: The cover (lush & simple at the same time); the ending; it’s a retelling of a much loved and ancient tale.
What I Disliked: I didn’t really have anything to go here, but I will say this childrens’ tale is worthy of some illustrations and perhaps a future edition would have some.
I currently have an interview and giveaway running for 3 ebooks of The Adventures of Stanley Delacourt (there will be 3 winners). Check that out and enter if you would like a chance to read Ilana Water’s middle grade fantasy adventure novel.