Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Quiltmakers Gift

The Quiltmakers Gift

Jeff Brumbeau
Illustrator:  Gail de Marcken 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to
Scholastic Press, 1997   ISBN: 978-0439309103

On a high mountain, up in the clouds, there once lived a quiltmaker who made the most beautiful, magical quilts imaginable. Once each quilt was finished the quiltmaker would take the quilt down into the town and give it to someone who had need of it, to someone who was poor or homeless. Her quilts were "not for the rich."

Not far there lived a very powerful king and this king liked nothing better than to be given gifts. In fact he liked gifts so much that he began to demand them of his people. The king even passed a law so that he would celebrate his birthday twice a year and thus receive twice as many presents. The king's castle was crammed with ""almost all of the prettiest things in the world"" and yet he was not happy.

The king finds out about the quiltmaker and he decides that he too must have one of her quilts for surely if he has one he will be happy at last. The quiltmaker will not give the king one of creations however because he has no need of it. If he wants to receive one of her quilts he must give away all his ""treasures."" The king is appalled at this idea until he tries giving a few things away. The king then makes a most astonishing discovery, one which will change his life forever.

Gail de Marcken's magical watercolour illustrations fill the pages with bright colours and the rich details that all children love. With multiple pictures on every page there is much to look at and enjoy, every small person, flower, and animal being vibrant and beautiful. Jeff Brumbeau's lyrical text is both uplifting and deeply moving, and the combination of words and art makes this is a book to treasure, to read again and again, and to wonder at.