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Pearl Verses the World Hardcover – August 23, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Potter's evocative pencil-and-wash drawings, with their excellent renderings of facial expressions and mood, wonderfully complement Murphy's thoughtful narrative in depicting the emotions of a scene. Altogether, the tale has much to offer in terms of grappling with personal identity as well as the death of a beloved. A tender, therapeutic treatment of loss, perfect for children dealing with the baffling complexities of adult dementia.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

About the Author

Sally Murphy writes reviews for READNG TIME, the magazine of the Children's Book Council of Australia, and runs a website that reviews Australian books. PEARL VERSES THE WORLD won the 2010 Australian Family Therapists' Award for Children's Literature as well as the 2010 Australian Speech Pathology Book of the Year Award for Best Book for Language Development. She lives in Wheatbelt, a tiny town in Australia.

Heather Potter is an illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 600L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (August 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763648213
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763648213
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,085,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Pearl tells a heartbreaking but simple story that explores the sensitive issues of dementia, grief, loss and loneliness from the viewpoint of a young girl. A girl that does not fit into the world that she is part of. A girl that does not rhyme with the world around her. A girl that loves her grandmother who taught her "sometimes a poem needs no rhyme to be just right. Sometimes a poem just is".

That is Pearl, she just is. She is just a little girl facing heartbreak for the first time, she is just a little girl looking for her place, she is just a little girl looking for her +1. She is just a little girl.

Being a children's book, this happy-sad story might be too much for the 8 - 12 age group that it is designed for. Quite sad in most parts with a nice ending that will leave a wide opening for conversations with your children about the difficulties of loss and growing up.

Pearl is an enduring character that will stay with you, she is a survivor, a young girl who has faced more sadness and loneliness than she should have, a girl that will one day find her way, but first she has to find her new place, a place for just two - with her granny watching over.
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Format: Hardcover
Pearl Verses the World tells that you can write poems in different ways, poems that don't rhyme and poems that rhyme. Pearl's grandma lived with Pearl and her mother and taught Pearl how to write poems that didn't rhyme. Her teacher at school taught her how to write rhyming poems so Pearl didn't know which poems to write. Throughout the story, Pearl's grandma got sick and eventually died one day when Pearl was at school. From then on Pearl wrote her poems the way that her grandma taught her and her teacher finally taught the other kids to write non-rhyming poems because of Pearl's grandma. Her teacher told the class, "Sometimes a poem needs no rhyme to be just right. Sometimes a poem just is." This makes me think that poems are what they are, just like people.

Girls would like this book because it is about mostly girls and poems. I think girls from 8 to adult would enjoy this book. The only thing that I don't think some kids would like in this book is when Pearl's grandma dies because they might think that their grandma would die or think about their grandma who had already died. It might be sad for some kids.

My favorite part was when Mrs. Bruff, Pearl's teacher, said to the class, "We are going to write a poem that doesn't rhyme." I liked it because Pearl finally got the class to know that poems don't have to rhyme to be proper poems. It was a special book because it taught you a lesson that poems don't have to rhyme to be correct and that sometimes teachers can be wrong but they can learn new ways to do things too.

Review by Young Mensan Sofia, age 7
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Format: Hardcover
When I was a kid, I remember going through similar lessons on poetry, although I don't think the unit was anywhere near this extensive, and I hated them. Of course, the stress was more on the different kinds of poetry than just on the rhyming ones. Here's the thing: I don't understand poetry that doesn't rhyme. For the most part, poetry just seems (unfairly) to me to be prose that has been formatted differently. Blank verse, especially, confuses the heck out of me logical-minded brain. Even now, I envy Pearl her ability to speak in poetry.

Pearl's poems are simple and charming. They cover her roving thoughts on her grandmother's health, death, social groups at school, poetry, gender roles, family and boys. Pearl has a definite personality that comes across in her meandering evaluations of certain topics, like fairy tales: "But I wonder, / Why does the prince need to be handsome? / I wonder if all princes / are supposed to be handsome" (9). She also wonders why the princesses don't just save themselves. Good question, Pearl. Something tells me she won't much like Twilight when she reads it.

Pearl Verses the World is a sweet, simple story, ideal for children dealing with the loss of a loved one. Or, perhaps, just for those who love poetry, whether or not it rhymes. As Pearl poets (verbed!), "Rhyme is okay sometimes, / but my poems don't rhyme / and neither do I" (4).
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Format: Hardcover
This was a very short read (80 pages), but it was such a sad story. I felt sorry for the little girl, Pearl. Her teacher, Ms. Bruff does not understand her poetry because it does not rhyme. Pearl feels like Ms. Bruff is always looking at her with disapproval, leading to Pearl's feelings of being a "group of one." When her grandmother dies--after a long battle with dementia--Pearl has a need to share her feelings, but has trouble finding the words. At the funeral, she shares a poem that she writes about her grandmother. In doing so, she releases her feelings and shows Ms. Bruff that not all poems have to rhyme.

The poems were quick and easy to read. Most of the pages had simple sketch drawings to help illustrate the book. I do not typically read middle grade novels, but I thought it might be something my students would read. After finishing the book, however, I'm not convinced any of my students would read this book without my probing. It was a very sad story. As a piece of writing, I think it would be worth using in class if we discussed the underlying themes and the idea of coping with loss of a family member. I think the book would be best suited for a child struggling with loss.
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