I love the relationship Hazel and Jack shared through much of their childhood: playing imaginatively as only uninhibited young people can do, creating worlds and scenarios wholeheartedly. Jack even puts aside his guy friends to play with Hazel (a true loner) during recess sometimes. Yet one day in the snow, he is stricken by something in his eye (and, unbeknownst to Hazel and other, his heart). He changes, disregarding her and others, suddenly disappearing one day when he should have been sledding.
If the story sounds a bit like one familiar, it is because the author shaped her modern day version after Hans Christian Andersen's classic tale (which I read again as soon as I finished Breadcrumbs). I love the way the Hazel and Jack's story that of Gerda and Kai (in some versions Kay), yet the Minneapolis setting makes everything seem real for this Twin Cities resident.
Children at the book festival this week asked for my recommendations, and by the close of sales, there were no copies of Breadcrumbs remaining. I eagerly await their thoughts.