cover image Grandmother Bryant's Pocket

Grandmother Bryant's Pocket

Jacqueline Briggs Martin. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $14.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-395-68984-4

Set in 1787, this inspiring story tells of a girl's grief at the loss of her dog, and the gradual healing process she undergoes. Eight-year-old Sarah Bryant is racked by nightmares after her beloved Patches dies in a fire, and so her parents send her to stay with her grandparents. Grandfather Bryant tells Sarah wonderful stories and Grandmother gives Sarah her pocket (a purse worn under a skirt), which is filled with medicinal herbs, bandages, scissors and two gold buttons. In the company of a one-eyed cat she begins to mend, and when the pocket is lost and stolen, Sarah helps recover it and grows stronger still. Martin's (Good Times on Grandfather Mountain) eloquent text has the force of a prose poem. Garlanded with bright images (""she carried gossip in her pocket""), the narrative advances with an old-fashioned sensibility, character-driven and telling its story in its own good time. Mathers's (Kisses from Rosa) bold yet delicate illustrations seem to have stepped out of a colonial fairy tale. They combine precision with charm, evoking a certain naivete, and work well within the book's small, 5""x7"" format. A pleasingly timeless historical tale. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)