Through lyrical writing and expressive images, Polacco (The Blessing Cup) 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. When Estella is born during a thunderclap, protected by a caul or “Mermaid’s Purse” (“a birth membrane to some, a miracle to others”), a midwife predicts that she will be showered with God’s blessings “like a spring rain.” As it turns out, Estella is “drawn to storms, and storms to her.” An insatiable reader, the precocious and charismatic girl saves a herd of sheep and the life of a friend using knowledge gleaned from her vast collection of books, housed in a library that neighbors build for her. The community again unites to bring about a satisfying finale after a tornado destroys Estella’s home and library. Robust pencil-and-marker illustrations bridge the narrative’s fluctuating moods, portraying Estella’s triumph and heartbreak with assurance. Ages 5–8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/08/2016 Release date: 10/04/2016 Genre: Children's
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.