About the book: Daniela, the glassmaker’s daughter, is always miserable despite being surrounded by beauty. Her despairing father offers to build a beautiful glass palace for the person who can make her smile. A stream of people travel from far and wide to try their luck but mask makers, lion tamers and magicians cannot raise a smile from the princess. It is a humble apprentice with the first looking glass who gets Daniela to smile – at her own grumpy reflection! Rich illustrations and a powerful message about happiness lying within make this a great picturebook for young readers to savour.
Reasons for selection: Diane Hofmeyr’s lyrical text reads aloud well and is at a challenging level for year 2. However, repeated rereadings to develop familiarity with the text will increase the children’s fluency. They will be introduced to literary language and to challenging vocabulary, which they can explore at a deeper level. Although this is an original story, the traditional structure and tropes allows children to make connections with other stories that they know. World knowledge is built through the Venetian setting and introduction to glass making/blowing. Jane Ray’s sublime illustrations support and extend the text providing greater contextual knowledge for the children to explore. The expressiveness provides a great starting point for exploration of character using a range of drama strategies. There are also opportunities to teach visual language and to explore technique, particularly with regard to the painting of the glass palace.
About Take One Book: The books in the Take One Book collection can be used in conjunction with the Take One Book website, or independently. Take One Book is Just Imagine’s programme for teaching reading and English using high quality literature. You can find further information and free exemplar units on the Take One Book website takeonebook.org
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