The Glassblower's Children

( 2 )


By the Winner of the Hans  Christian Andersen Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Children’s Literature

Albert the Glassblower and Sofia are the loving parents of little Klas and Klara. Albert makes the most beautiful glass bowls and vases (unfortunately they are so impractical that no one will buy them), while Sofia supports the family by working in the fields. Every year Albert goes to the fair to try to sell his wares, and sometimes Sofia and the children go too. At the ...

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The Glassblower's Children

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By the Winner of the Hans  Christian Andersen Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Children’s Literature

Albert the Glassblower and Sofia are the loving parents of little Klas and Klara. Albert makes the most beautiful glass bowls and vases (unfortunately they are so impractical that no one will buy them), while Sofia supports the family by working in the fields. Every year Albert goes to the fair to try to sell his wares, and sometimes Sofia and the children go too. At the fair the family meets Flutter Mildweather, a weaver of magical rugs that foretell the future, and Klas and Klara come the attention of the splendid Lord and Lady of All Wishes Town, who have everything they want except for one thing: children.

Full of curious and vivid characters—like the one-eyed raven Wise Wit, who can only see the bright side of life, and the monstrous governess Nana, whose piercing song can shatter glass—The Glassblower’s Children also ponders such serious matters as what it means to find meaningful work and the difference between what you want and what you need. In The Glassblower’s Children Maria Gripe has drawn on fairy tales and Norse myths to tell a thrilling story with a very modern sensibility.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Gripe polishes each separate scene to fine perfection.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This is a book to be read and returned to: it touches one deeply before the full pattern of meaning becomes clear, but, when it does, every detail is seen to have its place.” —Lesley Croome, The Times Literary Supplement

“Beautiful and terrifying by turns...The Glassblower’s Children is a brave book.” —The New York Times Book Review
"Fifty years ago, Swedish storyteller Maria Gripe set down a curious and somewhat disconcerting fairy tale about a benevolent carpet-weaving witch named Flutter Mildweather; her one-eyed raven companion, who can see only the good in the world; and two small kidnapped children. Reprinted in an elegant edition with original white-on-black etched illustrations….The Glassblower's Children retains its mystical, allegorical power….Stirring and distinct, this fable by the 1974 winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award lends itself not just to bedtime reading but also to quiet reflection."  —Meghan Cox Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal

Children's Literature - Susan R. Shaffner
Albert, a poor glassblower in long ago Sweden, takes his wife and two small children to the autumn fair to sell his wares. When a nobleman makes a large purchase, Albert buys his wife a ring and has their fortunes told by the strange Flutter Mildweather. The prediction Albert hears makes them watch the children carefully; but despite their best efforts, their children are abducted by the nobleman, who has a need to hear the words “thank you” and so grants each wish his wife makes. She had wished that she could have children. The children, Klara and Klas, forget their former lives as they live, mostly ignored, in the huge house in an empty town. They are friends with the Mirrorchildren until they notice that the Mirrorchildren are sadder each day. Their enormous governess named Nana beats them and pinches their ears and terrorizes the house. The lady of the house tells the lord that she is done wishing, that there will be no more “thank yous,” and that only a witch can make her wish again. He hires the witch Flutter Mildweather, who happens to be Nana’s sister, to live with them. Meanwhile the glassblower’s wife’s ring has been given to Flutter to magically help return the children. When a wish cannot be granted and Flutter’s raven gets back his lost eye and the sisters have a showdown (It’s a bit complicated...), the children are returned to the glassblower and his wife. Gripe’s characters are more than they appear and are brought to life in intricate pen-and-ink drawings. Younger children may enjoy this as a read-aloud and middle graders could read and discuss it. Readers of any age who enjoy C.S. Lewis and George Macdonald and Lloyd Alexander may find it to be worthy of their time. Reviewer: Susan R. Shaffner; Ages 8 to 12.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440030652
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/1973
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 160
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Maria Gripe 1923–2007 was born Maja Stina Walter in Sweden’s Stockholm archipelago, the daughter of an army captain. She attended Stockholm University, where she studied philosophy and the history of religion, and in 1946 married the artist Harald Gripe. Though she wrote stories from the time she was a child, Gripe did not publish her first book until she was thirty-one. Her first notable success came in the 1960s with a trilogy of books about Hugo and Josephine, and in 1964 she published Glasblåsarns barn, translated into English as The Glassblower’s Children in 1973. In 1974 she received Hans Christian Andersen Award, the most prestigious prize given to a writer of children’s literature. She adapted many of her books for radio, television, and film; in 1998 a movie adaptation of The Glassblower’s Children, starring Stellan Skarsgård, was released. Among Gripe’s books translated into English are The Night Daddy, Elvis and His Secret, and Agnes Cecilia.

Harald Gripe 1921–1992 was born and raised in Stockholm. Early in his career he worked as a set designer but later focused on painting and the illustrations he drew for his wife’s many books, working frequently in the style of white line etched into a dark background. His large collection of toy theaters is displayed at Gripe Model Theater Museum in Nyköping, Sweden, where he and Maria lived for most of their married life.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 27, 2014

    This splendid fairytale is of German origin.  An impoverished gl

    This splendid fairytale is of German origin.  An impoverished glassblower, named Albert, lives with his beloved wife Sophia and their two children, Klas and Klara.  He creates beautiful glass bowls and vases that are unique and extraordinary. Unfortunately they are so impractical that no one buys from him forcing his wife to work in the fields to supplement their living needs. 

    He packs up his wears each year and takes his family to a local fair to hopefully sell his goods.  It is at the fair that Flutter Mildweather comes into their lives.  She is a weaver of tapestries, tells people's fortunes and is involved with witchcraft.  She owns a one-eyed raven named Wise Wit who can only see good in the world.  They live in isolation away from the rest of the villagers. Klas and Klara are spotted by a very wealthy Lord and Lady of All Wishes Town.  The couple have everything at their disposal but they do not have any children.  The Lord takes it upon himself to kidnap the children to give to his lovely, unhappy wife, hoping that the children will make her happy once again.  

    Klaus and Klara find themselves prisoners in the Lord's mansion surrounded by the River of Forgotten Memories.  Their only playmates are reflections of themselves in the mirrors that line the grand hallways.  A controlling and evil Nanny is hired for the children and their quality of life diminishes even more.  What is to  be done?  Their parents don't know their whereabouts and they themselves cannot escape.  Is this to be their destiny?

    Just as their very lives are at risk, Flutter Mildweather, and her raven companion, arrive to rescue them from their hopeless existence.  The book is full of vivid, strange characters and makes you think about the difference between what you want and what you really need.  

    This book is reprinted in a beautiful edition with the original white-on-black etched illustrations. This mystical, allegorical story won the 1974 Hans Christian Anderson Award.  I highly recommend this book.

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  • Posted March 27, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    THE GLASSBLOWER¿S CHILDREN by Maria Gripe, Illustrations by Haro

    THE GLASSBLOWER’S CHILDREN by Maria Gripe, Illustrations by Harold Gripe is an interesting Children’s Books. Age range: 8-12 years, Grade level: 3-7

    “Maria Gripe’s Classic THE GLASSBLOWER’S CHILDREN turns 50 and Returns in Print”

    What a lovely way to celebrate 50 years!

    “Maria Gripe, Conjures a poor old mythical village called Noda, home to a glassblower named Albert, his wife Sofia, and their two small children, Klas and Klara.” This is where the adventure begins…..

    With lovely black and white illustrations, and a great story, you don’t want to miss a chance to read “The Glassblower’s Children”. This is not just a children’s book, any reader young or old will enjoy this book. Rather you enjoy fantasy, Fairy Tales or a great read, “The Glassblower’s Children” is sure to strike your fancy. I enjoyed this title! It is fast paced, filled with vivid and enchanting, characters, and a wonderful storyline. A must read for both young and old alike. Another treasure to be sure. Well done! Received for an honest review from the publisher.

    RATING: 4.5


    REVIEWED BY: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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