Dulcinea in the forbidden forest by Ole Konnecke

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This delightfully funny story, translated from German, has the feel of an old European fairy tale, complete with a dangerous magic forest, a castle with monsters in the moat and a very mean witch.

Dulcinea has always lived happily with her father, helping with chores and playing with the animals, and also promising him that she will never go into the enchanted forest. But today Dulcinea is having her birthday and her father makes her favourite blueberry pancakes for breakfast.  He has forgotten to buy the blueberries but when he goes into the forest to collect some, he is transformed into a tree by the nasty witch who lives in a nearby castle.  When he doesn’t return, Dulcinea goes into the forest and finds him.  She is directed by her tree father to follow the witch into her castle where she decides to steal the book of spells to change her father back.

The amusing, simple, but effective illustrations are done with a limited palette of various browns and black which enhances the fairy tale feel of the book.  The author/illustrator Ole Konnecke also translates the Detective Gordon books by Ulf Nilsson.  The book is divided into six short chapters, perfect for readers starting on novels and is easily read in one sitting.  Dulcinea is a delightful, strong character who uses her brain to outwit the witch and save her father, a great message for young children to read about.

Themes: Family life, Magic, Witches, Bravery.

Gabrielle Anderson