The mystical and the natural blend superbly in this first children's book by the accomplished literary novelist Louise Erdrich. The eccentric, well-traveled grandmother of two young kids decamps in mid-vacation, riding a porpoise to Greenland and leaving behind a trove of strange treasures and artifacts including a collection of bird's nests and three old eggs which hatch, marvelously, into passenger pigeons. Erdrich wields her Native American ancestry and her worldiness--Grandmother owns an original Klee
--to give young readers a sense of the world's wonders and the wisdom of the elders, the old wisdom of the natural cycles that we are losing. A letter from Grandmother, promising to return, winds up this fetching tale.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
As in her fiction for adults (Love Medicine), Erdrich makes every word count in her bewitching debut children's story. Similarly, there is not a wasted stroke in LaMarche's (The Rainbabies; Carousel) evocative acrylic and colored-pencil art, which brings the characters' expressive faces and likable personalities into sharp focus. Because Grandmother had trained kicking mules and skied the Continental Divide, her two grandchildren have come to expect the unexpected. Even so, the adventurous woman surprises them and their parents when, parasol in hand, she sails away on the back of a porpoise, announcing, "I've always wanted to see Greenland!" Reluctantly cleaning out her room one year later, the subdued family discovers something mysterious among Grandmother's many treasures: a twig nest containing three eggs that hatch into birds of an extinct species. Erdrich's articulate, wide-eyed narrator, the missing woman's granddaughter, conveys a contagious sense of wonder and serenely invokes some breathtaking imagery; describing Grandmother's bird nest collection, she notes, "I liked the hummingbird's, no bigger than my little fingernail, created with stolen spiderwebs." Impeccably paired, text and art gracefully build to a conclusion that both reassures and startles. Magical from beginning to end. Ages 5-9.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.