Guide/Reviews Database
YOUNGER FICTION
Lagercrantz, Rose

All's Happy That Ends Happy

(2) 1-3 Translated by Julia Marshall. Illustrated by Eva Eriksson. As fresh, funny, and real as ever, this seventh volume of the series sees the two firm friends Dani and Ella separated by circumstance. First Dani is sick in hospital with pneumonia. Then she travels to Italy for her father's wedding. The cast is bigger here, as Dani meets the Italian side of her extended family, and the setting is wider, as she is dragged along to see the sights of Rome. (The Sistine Chapel is "old ceiling paintings.") The plot contains several suspenseful crises and one good surprise. But the heart of the story, and its appeal, remains in its emotional authenticity and in the subtle shifts in the girls' relationships with their families, schoolmates, and each other. The text's short chapters are filled with perfectly chosen details. The scratchy black-and-white drawings convey subtext in their composition. Dani's relatives bunch together on a picturesque bridge, energetically chatting away in Italian as she stands apart, gazing into the water. The pictures also add texture and depth to the settings--a hairy dog, a pile of scratchy branches, smooth cobblestones, the nubble of a knitted sweater. In this child-centered take on sightseeing, the Colosseum is sketched in a few lines; the window of a toy store, much more detailed. Once again, this Swedish author-illustrator duo demonstrates the rich potential of the early ­chapter book.

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