In this imaginative children’s tale, readers are transported to a complex world populated by fairies, majestic wolves, and other fantastical creatures.
As the story begins, an imperious woman and her two companions decide to find and kidnap Nana Ida, an old woman purported to have an extraordinary gift: her tears of both joy and sorrow turn to diamonds. The trio is determined to become wealthy through this plot but know they must pass through four diverse and perilous lands to find her.
When the group finally finds Nana Ida, they learn they must cross a magical pond to reach her. Because they have ill intentions, the pond turns them into animals. Nana Ida shows them kindness and explains that to become human again, they must each face their greatest fear. In confronting their fears, they find the root of their greed and malevolence. As a result, the reformed would-be kidnappers grow closer to one another and even befriend Nana Ida.
Thoroughly realized and lovingly told, The Three Thieves and the Magic Tears presents a robustly imagined world. In addition to this world building, readers will enjoy well developed characters and a new twist on the popular quest narrative.
The book, however, also has some flaws. It’s rather long for a fable and meanders occasionally with extensive descriptions and superfluous dialogue; this may result in young readers losing focus or interest, and the morals of various scenes may also be lost on its audience. The illustrations, although beautiful, are only included at the beginnings of chapters, unlike a proper picture book. And finally, unusual words such as “hefted” and “telepathically” may be difficult for early readers.
Given its young target audience, this story could be improved with drastic tightening. Still, the detailed world building will captivate many readers and may inspire imaginative play. Adults or advanced readers will need to be hands on, however, to make this story’s vocabulary accessible to young readers.
Also available as an ebook.