Hazel Anderson and Jack Campbell were inseparable best friends. They shared a unique and magical world of their own creation, filled with wonder and imagination, that no one else could fully understand. It was only together that they found their place within the world.
But one day, without any warning or explanation, Jack suddenly ceased all communication. Hazel feels bewildered, hurt, and alone, and she’s unable to comprehend why her closest companion had seemingly abandoned her.
Hazel is devastated and can’t understand why her best friend left without a word. Hazel ponders over Jack’s mysterious behavior until Tyler, a close friend of Jack’s, shares what he believes to be impossible. Jack had been taken into the woods by a white witch on a sled.
Determined to find out the truth and rescue her friend, Hazel embarks on a perilous journey through the mystical woods, using all of her wits and bravery to navigate the treacherous terrain and overcome many obstacles. Her only hope lies in finding the white witch who is rumored to dwell deep within the woods – the same witch who Hazel believes holds Jack captive.
Hazel can’t help but wonder if Jack truly wants to be rescued or if he has intentionally chosen to leave her behind. The closer she gets to the truth, the more Hazel’s doubts and uncertainties begin to consume her. She wonders if she’s truly prepared for what she might find and if the truth behind Jack’s disappearance might be more than she can handle.
Hazel is a character that is easily relatable due to her simple and down-to-earth personality. She has a warm and welcoming demeanor that allows people to feel at ease around her. Additionally, Hazel’s experiences are ones that many can relate to, such as the ups and downs of relationships, the struggles of balancing school and friendships, and the journey of self-discovery. In essence, Hazel is a character that embodies the human experience, making her a truly multi-dimensional and interesting character to explore. As she relies on her wits, bravery, and unspeakable determination to uncover the truth and rescue her friend, readers will be rooting for her the entire way.
The whimsical story includes fifteen black–and–white illustrations that are scattered throughout the text. The illustrations are detailed, yet soft and cartoon-like. It helps bring the reader fully into the world within Breadcrumbs.
Breadcrumbs is a captivating and enchanting story that takes readers on a journey of self-discovery, friendship, and resilience. The story demonstrates that no matter how lost one may feel, it is never too late to find oneself and embrace who you truly are. Hazel, the protagonist, is a shining example of this. She discovers her true worth and identity. Through her journey, Hazel learns the value of true friends who support and encourage one another, even during the most challenging of times. Breadcrumbs also highlights the importance of perseverance and determination in overcoming obstacles and achieving our dreams. Overall, Breadcrumbs is a heartwarming tale that reminds readers of the power of friendship and the resilience of the human spirit.
- After getting upset, Hazel throws a snowball at Jack. A few seconds later, unhurt by the snowball, something else causes him to cry out in pain. “’Ow!’ He yelled. ‘Ow!’ His voice cracked into the sky. His other hand flew to his chest and he fell to his knees.” A snowflake with a shard of cursed glass fell into his eye.
- Two classmates, Tyler and Bobby, taunt Hazel as they do most days, but this time she has had enough. She retaliates by throwing a pencil case at Tyler. “In one motion Hazel stood up, grabbed the hard pencil case from her desk, and hurled it at Tyler. There were some yelps, some gasps, and then absolute quiet.” Tyler is hit in the head and left with a large, painful bump.
- Hazel meets a woman who stole a swan’s skin. Hazel accidentally discards the skin. The woman scratches Hazel for throwing away the skin. “‘I see,’ the woman said, running a cold finger down Hazel’s cheek. ‘Actions have consequences, little girl.’ And then there was pain. Stinging, and then searing. The woman had stuck a nail into Hazel’s cheek, and it was like a talon. She dragged her finger down, splitting the skin on Hazel’s face. It traveled down her cheek to her neck.” Hazel is left with a gash that bleeds profusely until a young man comes to aid the wound. She is left with a horrible scar.
- The white witch gives Jack a puzzle of broken shards that continually cut his fingers as he moves them. “He looked down at the puzzle shards. They were made of old, jagged angles. He reached a finger out to touch one of the points. He felt nothing, but a small dome of red blood rose out of his finger pad.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- When Jack abandon’s Tyler and Bobby as friends they blame Hazel. They taunt her with different names such as Crazy Hazy, psycho, and baby.
- The narrator gives background on a goblin, who is only prevalent to the beginning part of the story. “Mal looks nothing like you can imagine, neither goblin nor troll nor imp nor demon. But neither the goblins nor trolls nor imps nor demons know what Mal is either. For Mal is not any of those one things, but all of them . . .” This character only exists to create an entryway into the magic that exists throughout the rest of the story.
- The narrator takes a moment to provide context about the glass that made its way into Jack’s eye. This piece of glass is not anything ordinary, because it is a shard from a cursed mirror. “Mal had just invented something delightful – or at least something he found delightful, for that is an altogether different prospect. On the surface, it looked like an ordinary mirror . . . For the mirror took beautiful things and made them ugly, and took ugly things and made them hideous . . . the mirror shattered into the sky. . . one landed in the eye of a boy.”
- After Hazel notices the change in Jack’s behavior, she asks an adult what supernatural options there could be for Jack’s sudden change in personality. The adult says, “There are a few options. Possession is one. Not by a demon, but by something a little more harmless, like a goblin or imp. . . Or an evil disembodied brain thing. Or there could be some sort of enchantment. By a witch or wizard. Or by a magical item, something that was given to them, or something they acquired, maybe by accident. Or something that’s infected them that causes them to see the world in a skewed way.’”
- Tyler tells Hazel about the impossible thing he saw right before Jack’s disappearance. Tyler says, “He wasn’t alone. There was a woman there. She was . . . she wasn’t right. She was tall and weirdly thin. She wasn’t real. She was all white and silver and made of snow . . . like an elf or a witch . . . like a movie.”
- Hazel encounters three women in the woods that promise to help her. “[The first woman] picked a long gray string out of the box. It had a puff of wool attached at one end. She passed the string down, puff end first, and the three hooded women stared at it as if it were the most fascinating thing in the world.” The string the women look at represents Hazel’s life. The three women are supposed to represent the Fates who are in charge of the lives of those inside the world. They can see that her fate is yet undetermined and promise to help her if she asks a question. Although upon hearing her questions about the white witch, they send Hazel on her way.
- Hazel meets a young boy who lives in a cabin in the woods. His sister has been changed into a bird. The boy explains that a couple “‘said she’d run away. But I saw the bird and I knew. . . ‘ He glanced at the gold cage behind him. ‘It’s just like her. And you always know your sister.’”
- As Hazel walks through the woods, she thinks, “There were witches in the woods, they stole beauty from swans and then rotted from the inside. There were couples who wanted to turn girls into pretty little birds. The woods do strange things to people.”
- Hazel meets a kind couple that says they want to help, but upon walking Hazel listens to the stories of the flowers. She finds out that the couple has changed the girls into flowers. Hazel runs back into the woods before they can turn her into a rose.