Friday, September 12, 2008

Children’s Books: Shadows in the Twilight by Henning Mankell

Swedish-born author Henning Mankell is best known for his Kurt Wallander mystery series. These are books that dominate bestseller charts all over Europe and are beginning to make inroads in the United States, as well. Mankell’s fans know he’s a wonderful storyteller -- a great wordsmith with a lot to say. However, many who are new to his work don’t know that, in his own country, Mankell is also esteemed as a teller of children’s tales. Even the first few lines of Shadows in the Twilight (Delacorte) tells one why:
I have another story to tell.

The story of what happened next, when summer was over. When the mosquitoes had stopped singing and the nights turned cold.

Autumn set in, and Joel Gustafson had other things to think about. He hardly ever went to his rock by the river, to gaze up at the sky.

It was as if the dog that had headed for its star no longer existed.
Though Shadows in the Twilight follows up an earlier book, A Bridge to the Stars, young readers who are coming to Mankell for the first time won’t feel as though they’ve missed anything. Mankell is a skillfull writer and each work stands alone. This time out, Joel is dealing with shades of truth and coming to understand that sometimes a few words make all the difference in the world.

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