My book review of 'The Jeweller's Apprentice' by Axel Scheffler

by Axel Scheffler
Recommended age: 4+
The Jeweller's Apprentice
by Axel Scheffler

The amusing and distinctive illustrations from Axel Scheffler are comforting in their familiarity. But though he's usually known for bringing to life the wonderful tales of Julia Donaldson (particularly 'The Gruffalo') this is an animal fairy tale he has written and illustrated himself. 

Mr Peacock is the owner of a jewellery shop, and he has plenty of work creating beautiful and treasured items for the other birds and animals in the town.

To keep up with demand, he decides to take on a dull and unassuming chicken as his apprentice. It will take time to train him properly, but the chicken will help with admin and unskilled tasks in the meantime. 

Soon after, the king visits the peacock's shop and commissions him to take on a challenging project within a very short period of time. Before embarking properly on the task, the peacock goes home for a lie down. And then a series of events kick in that cause him terrible worry. 

The chicken has been tempted by all the beautiful jewels he sees every day in the shop, and wants them for himself. 

This is is a delightful, and multi-faceted, tale about right and wrong and learning about your mistakes. It's a powerful story and there's a lovely twist at the end as we find the 'chicken' isn't all he seems after all.

Date of this review: March 2024
Book publication date: 7th March 2024