cover image The Canada Geese Quilt

The Canada Geese Quilt

Natalie Kinsey-Warnock. Dutton Books, $15.99 (6pp) ISBN 978-0-525-65004-1

In one gorgeous, slim volume, Kinsey-Warnock tells a story of a particular time, from spring to fall, in a 10-year-old's life. Ariel loves the Vermont farm where she lives with her parents and grandmother, and wonders about the changes that a new baby in the house will bring to their lives. Then her grandmother suffers a stroke, and Ariel is haunted by the feeling that nothing and no one is safe. But when Ariel's parents realize that the old woman has given up on her recovery, it is Ariel who re-engages her grandmother in the business of living, helping her sew a quilt that Ariel has designed for the new baby. Kinsey-Warnock's language is simple and direct as it conveys both the loving relationship between the old woman and the girl, and the girl's love of the land. Ariel revels in her surroundings, and her mood is infectious; the thrill of the geese migrating is movingly expressed. Bowman's realistic black-and-white illustrations depict highlights of the story, but never try to evoke the landscapes suggested by the text, or the beauty of the two geese quilts. Wisely, she leaves such moments to readers' imaginations, and so her work appears like sustaining chords beneath the melody of the text. Ages 9-up. (Sept.)