|Book Reveiw 7-25
Sunday, January 4, 2009
By Denise Turney
This book made me laugh. That’s how I’ll start this book review, and it’s true! I smiled while I turned nearly everyone of the pages in this delightful book. I almost referred to it as a children’s book except it spoke to me so deeply – and I’m a grown woman with a grown child of my own – I don’t think it’s a book just for children. What great children’s books are?
The illustrations help bring this story to life in moving ways. I found it impossible to read the story and take in the illustrations, simply drawn yet profoundly effective, without returning to events in my own life starting when I was just a little girl.
The unfolding of the story also found me revisiting times I’d shared with my son when he was a child. As the inner flap of the book makes clear, “A mother’s love leads to a mother’s dream – every mother’s dream – for her child to live life to its fullest.”
The story begins with a mother holding her precious newborn in her hands. She’s marveling at her child, treasuring her to her very core. Then scene by scene, page by page, the infant grows up. Soon she is holding a child of her own.
There are struggles that are mentioned throughout the book which give it even more a realistic tone. While staying at the level of a child, the book which is deceptively simple, explores the challenges many of us face as we travel through diff erent stages of our lives.
For example, one scene deals with the infant – now a teenage girl – dealing with the impact of receiving a letter that delivered unwanted news. Readers are left to fill in the blanks for what they think the specific details of the letter were.
Perhaps the girl’s boyfriend wrote her and told her that he wanted to end their relationship.
Perhaps the girl’s best friend wrote and told her that she didn’t want to hang out with her anymore.
The possibilities are many and readers themselves are given the opportunity to think back on their own teenage days and think of what moved them the way the letter, which the girl has tossed onto the floor, has the teenager in the book as the scene reads: “Someday you will hear something so sad that you will fold up with sorrow.”
Later into the book another scene reads, “Someday I will stand on this porch and watch your arms waving to me until I no longer see you.” And, “Someday you will look at this house and wonder how something that feels so big can look so small.”
This book tugged at my heart in a way few books have. It’s a book that illustrates the full circle in the life of a little girl. The author, Alison McGhee, is an award-winning author of the novels Falling Boy, Shadow Baby, Snap and other rich books. The book’s illustrator, Peter Reynolds, has authored and illustrated several books including: The Dot, The Best Kid In The World, and My Very Big Little World.
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