Natasha Anastasia Tarpley, Author, Adjoa J. Burrowes, Illustrator , illus. by Adjoa J. Burrowes. Lee & Low $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-58430-156-1

Tarpley (I Love My Hair! ) and Burrowes (Grandma's Purple Flowers ) deliver a love letter—to all youngsters who embrace the world of words, and to the independent booksellers who nurture their passion. Narrator Destiny, an aspiring writer and avid reader, makes her second home in the neighborhood bookstore owned by Mrs. Wade. Destiny's friend and mentor, Mrs. Wade is charismatic and stylish; working in collage, Burrowes gives the woman cut-paper silver dreadlocks that seem to bristle with creative energy. When the bookstore falls on hard times, Destiny rallies the neighborhood and presents Mrs. Wade with the title's gift—a tribute that pours out of the girl's pen (readers may feel shortchanged not to get a glimpse of the tribute's contents). The first-person narrative captures Destiny's girlish voice and idealism, her budding observational powers and the way in which she, like all voracious readers, finds a magic in books that's independent of the words within their covers ("Sometimes I'd open a book, stick my nose in between the pages, and take a big whiff" says Destiny of the new arrivals. "It smelled like ink and grass and the old clothes in my granny's closet"). The compositions don't consistently convey the same vividness, but their quiet, sculptural feel conjures a sense of people and place, and anchors the story's mood of hopefulness. Ages 6-up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 01/03/2005
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-60060-644-1
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