Little does young Robert know as he creeps out of his house one morning that he will have the adventure of a lifetime in this mystical tale by Simon Mandl.
On his way to his favorite spot near the lake in the forest, Robert stops to talk to his horse Muster, a strong, handsome stallion and Robert’s favorite animal. After Robert eats his breakfast by the lake, his escapade begins.
Robert is startled when the rock he skips on the lake doesn’t sink but just lies there. He realizes that the lake is frozen. He then decides to walk on the lake, and suddenly the ice cracks and he sinks to the bottom. Surprisingly, he neither freezes nor drowns but instead discovers the cave of a little man known as Treebore Light.
Treebore Light uses a magical stick known as Branchlight to dry Robert and his clothes. He then tells Robert about his plight: an evil man has kidnapped his two sons and is holding them hostage in his house. Robert is moved by the little man’s problem and volunteers to rescue the sons. The remainder of Robert’s tale concerns his efforts to save the brothers, reunite them with their father and return home with no one the wiser.
This mini-chapter book with colorful illustrations has elements that might remind readers of Jack and the Beanstalk. In that story, Jack tries to rescue the hen that lays the golden eggs while avoiding the giant; here, Robert tries to rescue the brothers while avoiding the evil man. Mandl’s narrative unfolds in a natural manner, revealing bold antics and mystical events that should engage young readers. Some of the names are foreign sounding and the ending seems a bit abrupt, leaving a few important questions unanswered. But these only add to the tale’s mystery. Readers will want to stay tuned to find out if a sequel is in the works.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.