Garmann's Secret


Garmann is back for another story in this follow-up to the acclaimed books Garmann's Summer and Garmann's Street. And he's joined once more by some favorite characters from the original book, including the twins Hannah and Johanna.

"They're like two peas in a pod," adults whisper about the girls. But Garmann knows that they aren't. Then one day Johanna takes Garmann into the woods to show him a surprise, and the two find a secret world full of imagination and discovery.


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Garmann is back for another story in this follow-up to the acclaimed books Garmann's Summer and Garmann's Street. And he's joined once more by some favorite characters from the original book, including the twins Hannah and Johanna.

"They're like two peas in a pod," adults whisper about the girls. But Garmann knows that they aren't. Then one day Johanna takes Garmann into the woods to show him a surprise, and the two find a secret world full of imagination and discovery.

Award-winning author and illustrator Stian Hole has once again created a book filled with wonder that will delight fans of Garmann.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Garmann’s third coming-of-age story, Hole tells a euphoric story of first love. Each time Garmann’s eyes meet Johanna’s, a “nice tingle spreads through his body.” When Johanna takes Garmann into the woods to show him what she believes is a space capsule, they create a wondrous world of their own, pondering nature and metaphysical questions, and even sharing a kiss. The dreamlike photo-collage artwork mixes contemporary images with ones borrowed from the past (Elvis and other vintage figures can be seen in a local parade), as well as botanical and astrological prints, for a heightened, surreal effect. Ages 6–10. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Young Garmann returns for an unusual adventure. He is teased cruelly by Hannah, but her identical twin sister Johanna turns out to be quite different. One day Johanna offers to show him a secret. She leads him through the forest to some large chunks of metal that she thinks was a space capsule. "This can be our secret place," she tells him. Garmann joins her up in a tree. There they talk about God, and outer space. When Garmann gets home, he thinks about secrets. When Hannah threatens to reveal Johanna's secret, she threatens right back. At night he dreams of floating in space with Johanna. The new friends spend happy time together in their secret place. Their happiness together is a delight, particularly for Garmann. The jacket shows the very naturalistic youngsters at play in the woods, demonstrating Hole's combination of photographs and painting for illustrations. The double-page scenes, mainly set in the verdant forest with its detailed variety of plants and animals, create the imaginative theatrical space for their games and the wrecked space capsule. These are real children, with the differences between the sisters all too clear. Don't miss the fantasy on the end pages. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Hole shares his thoughtful and poetic insights into the mind of a child in this third book about a sensitive, towheaded boy. Here he is befriended by kind Johanna, who takes him into the woods to see what appears to be a space capsule. Keeping the discovery a secret from her bullying twin sister, Hannah, they spend hours playing in and around the capsule. Hole's collage illustrations experiment with proportion and dimension and are at once weird and wonderful, real and surreal. The themes of loyalty, imaginative play, and individuality are universal. Although the characters are young, the plainspoken narrative and novel artwork will appeal to older children. For larger collections or those that circulate the earlier titles.—Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick's Catholic School, Charlotte, NC
Kirkus Reviews
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802854001
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 3/15/2012
  • Edition description: Translatio
  • Pages: 50
  • Sales rank: 700,655
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 640L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Stian Hole is a Norwegian author and illustrator. His picture books include Garmann's Street and Garmann's Summer, which won a BolognaRagazzi Award, a Batchelder Award Honor, and an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award. The book also was recently named to the IBBY Honour List for 2010.
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Read an Excerpt

Garmann's secret

By Stian Hole

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2012 Stian Hole
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5400-1

Chapter One

IF YOU BLINK, you're scared of your mommy," Hannah says, clapping her hands right in front of Garmann's face. Garmann blinks, and Hannah cries out, "Ha! If you blink again, you have to kiss Johanna." Hannah grins and claps her hands once more.

Hannah's horrible, Garmann thinks, moving away. He has seen how things work on the playground; he knows that children form a circle around you and shout and jeer. You have to get away before you're left standing in the middle.

For the rest of the break he stays in the shadow of the tree and watches Hannah and Johanna jump rope.

The twins are identical and yet different, Garmann thinks. Johanna is ready to jump in after Hannah. When Hannah starts to move out, Johanna moves in. The girls skip together for a while. But when the rope hits Hannah's legs, Johanna gets the blame. "You're always copying me, you little baby!" Hannah whines.

Johanna gets quiet and walks off.

The twins are at the front of the Constitution Day parade. In front of the band, in front of the mayor and all of the events committee. Hannah and Johanna sparkle. They look like white circus ponies as they march through the school gates, down the main street, and across the square.

They're like two peas in a pod," Garmann hears some adults whisper as the girls pass by. No, they aren't, Garmann thinks.

Later, after all the holiday games have been played and the last ice cream has been eaten, Garmann feels a hand on his shoulder.

He turns and sees Johanna.

"Come on, Garmann, and I'll show you a secret," she whispers. Garmann and Johanna head off through the park, along the wire fence that Hannah tricked Garmann into licking last winter. Soon they're by the tall spruce trees. Johanna looks over her shoulder to make sure no one is watching them. Then they take the path into the forest.

"Where are we going?" Garmann whispers.

"Wait and see," Johanna answers.

The path narrows as it enters the dark forest. It's cool and damp beneath the leaves. So many shades of green, Garmann thinks to himself. None of the leaves is quite the same as another. They plunge deeper into the forest, stopping only at an anthill to watch the worker ants carrying spruce needles.

"Wonder how they can tell each other apart," Garmann says.

"I once saw two ants carrying a drop of water between them," Johanna says.

Johanna takes a running start and jumps over a stream. "We're getting close," she says under her breath to Garmann. They creep through the wild brambles. Johanna stops at the edge of a clearing. She pushes some branches to the side and points. Garmann cranes his neck to see.

Between the ferns on the forest floor he sees some twisted chunks of blackened metal.

"You're the only person I've shown this to," Johanna says. "I think it was a space capsule."


Excerpted from Garmann's secret by Stian Hole Copyright © 2012 by Stian Hole. Excerpted by permission of Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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