Game of Gnomes – Kirsten Mayer

Game of GnomesGame of Gnomes by Kirsten Mayer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Distributor
Publication Date: November 2017
Publisher: Imprint
Genres & Themes: Picture Book, Winter, Competition, Fantasy


The Winter Gnome Games are coming to the Gnome Garden! This is great news for Ginger. Every gnome in the Garden calls Ginger nicknames like “red” or “curly” because of her hair, but this Winter sports competition is the perfect chance to make a name for herself–her own name! Gnomes compete in downhill sledding, figure skating, and curling, but Ginger can’t help showing off some daring skills in each event! Her rule-busting moves put her on thin ice with the judges. But when her friend Al needs help, Ginger proves with courage and creativity that she’s more than her appearance.


I find this story a little awkward.

The illustrations are splendid and very colourful, so they are never part of the problem.

The idea of there being Winter Games for gnomes is also original, because why should human beings be the only ones with celebratory games?

But I find Ginger to be a problematic character. Her name is literally Ginger, which is such a stereotypical nickname for red-heads. So the fact that it’s her name, and she doesn’t realize what it means, when she herself admits to wanting to be recognized for something other than her red hair, is just very awkward and contradictory.

Ginger then participates in the Winter Gnome Games to prove that she is much more spectacular than the redness of her hair is. Basically, she wants the attention to be on her as a person and not simply one feature of her body. Well, she says she wants to be known as someone other than Red or Ginger, so perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but I can’t help but want to find more depth to this story.

It should have read like a winter fairytale, but it doesn’t. It’s cute, so there’s that, and it also contains a satisfying ending, but again, the delivery is somewhat awkward. Still, I think it’s a sweet story for children. Many adults love reading children’s books, and to those I would say skip this one because it does not have much to offer except for gorgeous illustrations, but my guess is kids will enjoy this much more.


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