OMA'S QUILT

Paulette Bourgeois, Author, Stephane Jorisch, Illustrator , illus. by Stéphane Jorisch. Kids Can $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55074-777-5

The difficult transition from family home to retirement community is poignantly rendered in this cross-generational tale told from a child's viewpoint. Emily tours her grandmother's empty house one last time before taking the reluctant Oma to her new residence. Bourgeois (author of the Franklin series) creates an immediate nostalgic feeling with Emily's observations. (Oma's house "still smells like cabbage soup, warm yeasty dough, lemon polish and vinegar.") Though the subject is bittersweet, the author keeps the story moving in lighthearted fashion, as optimistic Emily offers her impression of Oma's new home: "There are flowers everywhere.... There is a library... and even bowling on Wednesdays!" A displaced Oma is full of complaints ("The bowling alley lanes are crooked and the rental shoes smell funny"—and she takes to calling her fellow residents "Nincompoops!"). Jorisch's (As for the Princess: A Folktale from Quebec) sun-drenched watercolors showing plump chairs and sofas in warm colors maintain a cheery mood. As Emily and her mother sort through Oma's now-boxed-up belongings, the girl suggests that they sew a quilt from them; it provides the cure for Oma's sourpuss facade. As Oma fondly looks over the quilt, pictures of events from the woman's past cascade in a joyous full-bleed spread. Author and artist stitch together a heartfelt reminder of the comfort that only the familiar can bring. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/22/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
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