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Grandma's Purple Flowers Hardcover – October 1, 2000
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2-A child narrates this bittersweet story about her relationship with her favorite grandma. The text uses seasons of the natural world as a metaphor for the human life cycle. In summer, the youngster describes how she joyfully skips through the park in anticipation of reaching her grandma's house, where "A big hug and a smile are always waiting-." The little girl picks lovely purple flowers for the woman, and she, in turn, bakes corn muffins. The story's inevitable conclusion is foreshadowed during fall when the two discuss the death of falling leaves and the grandmother's vitality visibly slows. Then one wintry night, the woman dies. The youngster's palpable grief is only assuaged in spring when she sees purple flowers sprouting up behind her beloved grandmother's former residence. The hopeful ending emphasizing the cyclical nature of existence makes this story particularly effective bibliotherapy. Expressive and striking cut-paper collages that incorporate watercolors and acrylics enhance the simple story about two loving African-American relatives.
Rosalyn Pierini, San Luis Obispo City-County Library, CA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 4-8. The young African American narrator adores being with her grandmother, who always has a hug and smile waiting. In the summer, the girl picks purple flowers: Grandma loves purple. In the autumn, the girl rakes leaves. When she asks why they fall and die, Grandma tells her, "Everything has its time." When the snow falls, it is Grandma's time, and the girl endures the winter, thinking about how much she misses her grandmother. Then spring comes, the flowers bloom, and the girl sees the first purple flower poking out from the ground. The girl wants to cry, but she feels happy, too. Many books for young children deal with death, but few have pictures that are so winning. Cut paper, watercolors, and acrylics are combined beautifully to depict each season --falling orange and yellow leaves, drifts of white snow. Although the collages are not as technically sophisticated as in some recent offerings, they burst with life as they capture the smallest nuances of emotion between grandmother and granddaughter. The first-person text is simple, moving, and hopeful: "When I see purple flowers now, I think of Grandma." Ilene Cooper
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