In Venice a glassmaker lives with his daughter Daniela. Despite being surrounded by the beauty of the city and her father’s wonderful creations Daniela is sad. In desperation, the glassmaker offers the gift of a glass palace for anyone who can make his daughter smile. There are many attempts, including a sword swallower, a mask maker and a lion tamer but despite their brilliance they all fail. Then a young glassmaker decides to try, through skill and mysterious alchemy he creates a special gift (made of glass obviously) and goes to visit the glassmaker’s daughter. The gift is a looking glass. When Daniela looks into it she sees a very funny, grumpy face looking back. Suddenly her face changes, amused by her reflection Daniela begins to smile and then laugh out loud. Her happiness is so infectious soon the whole city is happy too, and there is laughter and dancing.
The foreword provides a fascinating insight into the historical context for the story; medieval Venice renowned for its glassmaking, the wealth and prestige of its craftsmen and the efforts made to keep their recipes for glass and mirror making secret.
With a clear message about finding happiness within ourselves, this is a beautifully written story in true fairy tale style. The illustrations, by highly acclaimed illustrator Jane Ray are beautiful too – the glass shattering spread is truly stunning.