The Dollmaker of Krakow by R. M. Romero

The Dollmaker of Krakow

Written by R. M. Romero

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One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | October 2017 Debut of the Month

In a Nutshell: An enchantingly heartrending conjuration that weaves folklore magic with the darkness of Nazi-occupied Poland.

Karolina is a living doll who’s been transported from the Land of the Dolls on a “kind wind” following a cruel war with the rats. She wakes “in her new world with a glass heart”, in the workshop of a dollmaker in Krakow, Poland. When Karolina speaks to him, the Dollmaker is certain that he’s lost his mind. He made her, after all, “and I can’t make something that comes to life,” he reasons. But Karolina explains that “gardeners do it all the time with flowers”.

Through shimmering, lyrical language, and Karolina’s consummate compassion, we are witness to a transformation in the crotchety widower Dollmaker. He begins to smile, to make friends, to feel light and hope. And then, when darkness descends on their city in the form of the Nazis, together they must use their newfound magic to save their friends, no matter what. The author does not shirk from relating the brutal realities of the Jewish experience in Nazi-occupied Poland, yet the overriding message is one of hope and love, and the wondrousness of acts of kindness. This is a sublimely big-souled book, with an exquisite ambiance of timelessness. ~ Joanne Owen


The Dollmaker of Krakow by R. M. Romero

A timeless fantasy set in the Second World War that weaves together magic, folklore and history, perfect for fans of The Book Thief, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Goodnight Mister Tom.

One night a little doll named Karolina comes to life in a toyshop in Krakow, Poland, in 1939 and changes the life of the gruff, broken-hearted Dollmaker. And when the darkness of the Nazi occupation sweeps over the city, Karolina and the Dollmaker must bravely use their magic to save their Jewish friends from a terrible danger, no matter what the risks. This powerful story is about finding friendship in the darkest of places and the importance of love in times of great pain.


It's genuinely beautiful to read, the writing is of such high quality. The characters are incredibly well imagined and rise from the pages as fully-formed, interesting people dealing with seismic events and problems. Both worlds - that of reality and that of fantasy - are deep, rich and vivid. As noted, parts of The Dollmaker of Krakow are hard to read, even hurt to read, but the pay-off is worth it. One for middle grade readers of open hearts, clear minds and a love of beautiful writing. * Book Bag * R. M. Romero's unique tale already feels like it could be a future children's classic [...] Delicately written and complemented by stunning, timeless illustrations from Lisa Perrin, The Dollmaker of Krakow is an astonishing debut novel that will have a lasting impact on everyone who reads it. * BookTrust * [...] remarkable debut [...] fabulous fable [...] The book is beautifully produced in hardback form, with Hans Christian Andersen-style silhouette paper cut-outs lining each page. * The Irish Times * This is a beautiful story about the power of friendship and magic, even in the very darkest of times. * The Week Junior * This is a sublimely big-souled book, with an exquisite ambiance of timelessness. * Joanne Owen, LoveReading Debut of the Month *

About the Author

R.M. Romero is a Cuban-American author who lives with her family and a menagerie of pets in Colorado. Currently, she occupies her time working in a haunted hotel, reading fairy tales, hiking, studying languages, and writing every moment she gets.

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Book Info


288 pages
Interest Age: From 9 to 12 years


R. M. Romero
More books by R. M. Romero


Walker Books Ltd

Publication date

5th October 2017




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