An earnest boy walks the streets of turn-of-the-20th-century Vienna, seeking the perfect present for his mother’s birthday.
Lodding begins in the morning with Oskar peering “wide-eyed into the shop windows” of the bustling city, where “[s]hoppers and sellers filled the streets, and carriages clippity-clopped against the cobblestones.” The descriptive language reveals a task to be completed. He must find something to buy his mother even though he has but one coin. Oskar spots a striking yellow rose and promptly buys it. But an artist admires his flower and trades him a paintbrush for the bloom. Oskar then decides this will be the perfect item with which to paint his mother a picture. Agreeable and ever helpful Oskar then encounters a conductor, a writer and the empress, and a trade occurs each time. As the sun begins to set, he runs along the Danube, eager to present his gift to his mother…until he notices a girl crying. He discovers that she is in a similar predicament and decides to give the girl his gift even if that means he is left with nothing. When all seems hopeless, a tap on the shoulder from the girl reveals a most beautiful and familiar resolution. The beauty and warmth of the tale is skillfully matched in Jay’s glowing illustrations that appear to have an aged, crackled finish.
Treat this lovely story as a gift worth sharing. (note) (Picture book. 4-8)