In this prequel to The Keeping Quilt, readers learn how Polacco’s great-grandmother Anna and her parents were forced from their shtetl in Czarist Russia and made their way to America. Among the few treasures the family took with them was a vibrantly painted tea set, a kind of familial talisman (“This tea set is magic. Anyone who drinks from it has a blessing from God,” says Anna’s mother, explaining its lore), which also served as a reminder that they would always be rich in what matters: resilience and love. Only one cup from the tea set made it to their new home, but it played a central role in the family’s traditions and milestones through the generations. Polacco opens her heart to readers as few authors can, inviting them to become intimates in her family’s low and high points. As in The Keeping Quilt, she renders her unabashedly sentimental scenes of immigrant life in exuberant, fluid gray pencil, reserving the splashes and spots of color primarily for the tea set and—in a link to the earlier book—the babushka that will become part of the quilt. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/03/2013 Release date: 08/27/2013 Genre: Children's
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