Over the years Elise, who is frightened of everything and lives all alone in a drab little house, has become a complete recluse.
Elise is fanatical about having a clean, tidy home and on occasion leaves a window open to let fresh air in. Imagine her surprise then when one day in through the open window sails a paper aeroplane. Her response is to throw it into the fire. Next morning she gets an even bigger surprise: there’s a persistent knocking on her door. Her visitor is a little boy, who’s come in search of his plane (and needs to visit the loo).
Having done the latter, it turns out that her visitor is an outgoing, inquisitive lad who asks Elise about the pictures on her wall, and the books on her shelves. When he requests a story, she’s more than happy to oblige, and having read the entire book, the two play together and have a snack after which, Elise reluctantly suggests the boy should go home. Before he leaves, he tells her his name is Emil and thanks her for the fun time they’ve shared.
As it grows dark, Elise, alone once more, starts some paper folding. Now all she need do is wait. A new world of wonderful possibilities has just opened up for her. The diorama/cut-out style illustrations are superb. Elise’s expressions really draw the reader right in to this wonderful story, while the arrival on the scene of the little boy gradually brings light, colour and joy into her home and her life. Her cheeks begin to glow, first a soft pink, then brighter pink and as her happiness grows, they take on a deep red tint; in tandem, the house interior becomes filled with the most amazing bright hues.
This treasure of a book gently demonstrates the benefits of being open to new experiences, and the transformative possibilities of a friendship between the generations.