From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3?When Selina's Mennonite family decides that they must flee to Canada to avoid persecution as the Civil War is about to break out, her grandmother feels she is too old to make the journey and stays behind in Pennsylvania. She gives Selina the bear-claw patterned quilt top she has been piecing together from scraps of fabric, including snippets from her wedding dress. There are many interesting themes in this book such as the Mennonites' refusal to take sides in a violent conflict and the importance of quilts as a social activity and a strong visual link to family history and relationships. Unfortunately, the story never comes to life. Mennonite beliefs and even a clear indication of which war is about to be fought, while mentioned in the introduction, are not integrated into the main narrative. Smucker fails to make readers feel the pain and drama of the situation. The watercolor illustrations have a sweet romanticized look and often provide closeups of Selina and her grandmother. Despite the book's weaknesses, libraries may still want to consider it. The study of quilts is often used to link social studies, math, and art and a multicultural approach to history should certainly include the Mennonites.?Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 4^-8. Based on a true story about a real quilt, this picture book (first published in Canada) tells of a Mennonite child during the Civil War. Because of pacifist beliefs, Selina's family is in danger from both sides and flees from Pennsylvania to safety in Canada. But Grandmother is too old to go along, and Selina is heartbroken to part from her. What keeps them close is Grandmother's gift to Selina: the bear paw quilt that Selina has watched Grandmother stitch together with pieces of cloth that hold memories for every member of the family. The idyllic pictures are bordered by brilliantly colored, minutely detailed, real quilt patterns of astonishing variety; the endpapers show bear paw quilt patterns, and on the back of the book jacket are examples of several more old methods and patterns. An introduction explains the history, but the real focus is on the illustrations, which show and tell the beauty of the quilts. Hazel Rochman