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GARMANN'S SECRET by Stian Hole Kirkus Star


by Stian Hole & illustrated by Stian Hole & translated by Don Bartlett

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5400-1
Publisher: Eerdmans

After tackling the neighborhood bully (Garmann's Street, 2010) and the impending death of his elderly aunts (Garmann's Summer, 2008), Garmann returns in his third discovery of life’s universal truths, this time exploring secrets—and first love.

While many call the redheaded identical twins, Hannah and Johanna, first introduced in Garmann’s Summer, two peas in a pod, Garmann has begun noticing their differences, which are slyly played out through illustrations. One day Johanna leads the young Norwegian boy into the woods, where she shows him a rusted, hidden space capsule. As the children realize their mutual fascination with space, they decide to make the capsule their secret hideout. Just as he did in his previous books, Garmann turns to the adults in his life to help make sense of his world. After discovering that “everyone has secrets” from his mother, he opens up to Johanna, exposing a few of his secrets and learning some of hers. In this quiet give and take, Garmann and Johanna learn what many adults never do: A fine blend of vulnerability and trust can lead to love. The woods’ lush greenery, mystical lighting that subtly changes as night falls and tiny white flowers that dot the ground like stars all form the perfect place for keeping secrets.

Fans of Hole’s mixed-media collages, rendered in a retro-infused, surreal style, will find this book his most beautiful yet. (Picture book. 6-9)