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The Mermaid's Purse Hardcover – October 4, 2016

4.8 out of 5 stars 77 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 2–4—Polacco tells a story based on her grandmother's early years in 19th-century Michigan. Stella was born in a Mermaid's Purse, otherwise known as a caul, and that meant that she was born blessed. More than anything, Stella loves books. She reads anytime she can and saves up all her money to buy books, too. Eventually she owns so many that her father and other men from town build her a library, and she names it the Mermaid's Purse. Stella's collection soon comes in handy as she uses it to help a farmer save his sheep from dying of bloat, keep her future husband from drowning, and prevent another farmer from losing his water rights. However, her books can't stop the Mermaid's Purse from being destroyed by a tornado. Stella grows despondent, and it isn't until farmers from all over the county find her books scattered around and return them to her that she is finally happy again. The art is done in the muted tones and style that are without a doubt Polacco's trademark. This is the type of family tale that the author/illustrator is known for. The story is lovely, with the message that books can teach anyone about everything. The title also features pictures and tidbits about the real Stella's life after the narrative is over, which is a nice touch. VERDICT A terrific library read-aloud that is also suitable for one-on-one and small group sharing.—Paige Garrison, Augusta Richmond County Library System, GA

Review

“Once again, Polacco brings forth a new family story, this time about her grandmother. . . . Polacco's signature textual and illustrative styles blend to depict a folksy, bygone past. The pencil-and-marker artwork lovingly evokes the poignant memory, making this one of her most personal-feeling books. Three photos of her grandmother on the back page add backbone to the tale. Heartwarming.”Kirkus Reviews

“Through lyrical writing and expressive images, Polacco returns to recurring themes from her books: the importance of family, community, and reading. Polacco again draws on her family history—basing her heroine, Estella, on her own grandmother—while also giving this down-home tale a mystical undertone. . . . The community again unites to bring about a satisfying finale. . . . Robust pencil-and-marker illustrations bridge the narrative’s fluctuating moods, portraying Estella’s triumph and heartbreak with assurance.”Publishers Weekly

“This is the type of family tale that the author/illustrator is known for. The story is lovely, with the message that books can teach anyone about everything. The title also features pictures and tidbits about the real Stella’s life after the narrative is over, which is a nice touch. A terrific library read-aloud that is also suitable for one-on-one and small group sharing.”School Library Journal

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition (October 4, 2016)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 48 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0399166920
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0399166921
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 5 - 8 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ NC750L
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ Kindergarten - 3
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.16 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 8.88 x 0.44 x 11.25 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 77 ratings

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Born Patricia Ann Barber in Lansing, Michigan, to parents of Russian and Ukrainian descent on one side and Irish on the other, Patricia Polacco grew up in both California and Michigan. Her school year was spent in Oakland, California, and summers in her beloved Michigan. She describes her family members as marvelous storytellers. "My fondest memories are of sitting around a stove or open fire, eating apples and popping corn while listening to the old ones tell glorious stories about their homeland and the past. We are tenacious traditionalists and sentimentalists.... With each retelling our stories gain a little more Umph!"Studying in the United States and Australia, Patricia Polacco has earned an M.F.A. and a Ph. D. in art history, specializing in Russian and Greek painting, and iconographic history. She is a museum consultant on the restoration of icons. As a participant in many citizen exchange programs for writers and illustrators, Patricia Polacco has traveled extensively in Russia as well as other former Soviet republics. She continues to support programs that encourage Russo-American friendships and understanding. She is also deeply involved in inner-city projects here in the U.S. that promote the peaceful resolution of conflict and encourage art and literacy programs.The mother of a grown son and a daughter, Patricia Polacco currently resides in Michigan, where she has a glorious old farm that was built during the time of Lincoln.

Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
77 global ratings
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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