cover image Pieces of the Picture

Pieces of the Picture

Barbara M. Joosse. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, $12.95 (135pp) ISBN 978-0-397-32342-5

Emily is a girl, isolated from everyone, whose father has recently died. The family has been forced to move from Chicago to a country town ``at the end of nowhere,'' and Emily's mother is totally involved with her new responsibilities running an inn. Without friends of her own, Emily becomes fascinated with the lives of other people and carefully records her impressions in a notebook. Although she is quick to sum up most guests at the inn, Emily has more trouble understanding her mother, a woman ``born to live a life of dullness and work.'' The discovery of some old trunks offer Emily insights to the past, not only about her mother, but about herself. While tending a Canada goose that has been left behind by the rest of the flock, Emily remembers how she too was abandoned after her father's accident. When she frees the goose, she simultaneously expels her own deep-rooted anger. While most of the characters in the novel (especially the guests at the inn) are predictable--if not stereotyped--the character of Emily is more complex. Her humor, sensitivity and desire to understand her world by putting together ``pieces of the picture,'' add depth to the novel. Ages 10-12. (Apr.)