Illustrated by Jeff Stokely
This book is a reimagining is the story of the Pied Piper. In the village of Hameln, a young woman named Maggie lives and dreams of falling in love. She has gone deaf due to a tragedy of childhood cruelty, and she continues to live with judgment from the villagers. The village of Hameln is beset with rats, bringing fever and ruining crops and stores of food. In comes a mysterious stranger who claims he can rid the village of all the rats. He negotiates his fees, including all-expenses-paid while he stays in the village, and begins his recon. This includes getting to know the lovely Maggie, who cannot fall under his spell naturally. Nevertheless, the two begin to admire each other, but double-crossing and deep-seeded bitterness threaten everything Maggie knows about the man of her dreams.
The first 2/3rds of this story were well paced and interesting. The backgrounds of both maggie and the Piper were both tragic and garnered sympathy. Maggie's guardian Agathe is also an interesting lady and brings a sprinkling of humor to this otherwise fairly dark story. The illustrations are very prettily drawn, and Maggie's dream sequences especially so. Overall, this story is very short, and the last 1/3rd of the story is severely rushed. I don’t quite understand the event that leads Maggie to begin to lose trust in the piper. The ending leaves a lot of things completely open and unresolved.
This story is mostly ok for middle school audiences until the very end. This major plot point in the Piper's arc has me putting it for high school audiences instead.
Sara's Rating: 6/10
Suitability Level: Grades 9-12
Tags: Rating: 6/10, Suitability: High School, Graphic Literature, Folklore
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