One of the most continuing life lessons is that ‘Different does not mean wrong.’ And this timeless wisdom can be seen in the delightful story of Michele Campanelli’s “Land of the Gnomes.”
Campanelli’s story champions the idea that uniqueness is not a blemish but a gift to be celebrated. It charmingly presents this message, leaving readers of all ages with a renewed appreciation for personal differences and their inherent strengths.
“Land of the Gnomes,” tells the tale of a lively community of gnomes living blissfully in harmony, their lives marked by their shared love for the garden and the mutual fear of their existence being discovered by humans. The story gains momentum with the arrival of a new gnome, Metra, who is unlike any other gnome. Metra brings an uncanny click, click sound, setting in motion a chain of events that are as intriguing as they are endearing. The curiosity and concern aroused by the new gnome’s peculiar trait led to an unexpected revelation and a harmonious liaison between the gnome village and their human neighbor, Mr. Maelzel.
What makes Metra different from the other gnomes in his community?
And how does this affect their tranquil existence?
As you read along, you will appreciate the series of illustrations that bring the magical world of gnomes to life. And Campanelli’s writing style is exhilarating—balancing detailed descriptions and a swift narrative pace, ensuring the story is neither too complicated for younger readers nor too simple for older ones.
Additionally, she has a knack for imbuing the fable with humor and a healthy dose of whimsy. For example, a trivia in the story is about creating a device musicians use to maintain a steady rhythm while playing. In the tale, Mr. Maelzel creates a machine inspired by Metra’s unique ability. This blend of reality and fantasy further enriches the reading experience.
Finally, this book seamlessly integrates lessons within an entertaining tale, making it a needed educational resource for children. Metra’s journey illustrates the importance of accepting diversity and the beauty inherent in uniqueness. A truly meaningful read—it invites readers into the world of gnomes while subtly urging them to reflect on the value of embracing individuality.
– The Moving Words Review
Official Entry: The Most Moving Book Award, Jan. 3, 2024