cover image My Louisiana Sky

My Louisiana Sky

Kimberly Willis Holt. Listening Library, $22 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-52598-4

In this poignant adaptation of Holt's debut novel, actress Ivey's natural Southern twang goes down as smooth as ""Momma's extra-sweet lemondade."" Twelve-year-old Tiger Ann Parker finds herself going through some momentous changes in the summer following sixth grade. Though she fiercely loves and defends her parents--both of whom are mentally disabled, or ""slow,"" as Tiger prefers--Tiger harbors guilt about sometimes feeling embarrassed by Momma and Daddy. She's also torn between playing baseball with her best pal, Jesse Wade, and sitting on the sidelines with the girls in pretty dresses. Luckily, she has her loving, pragmatic Granny at home to help her sort through the confusion. But when Granny suddenly dies from a snake bite, Tiger's world turns upside down. In the weeks following Granny's death, Tiger discovers how truly special her parents are and that she could never leave them or their tiny rural hometown of Saitter, La. Set in the 1950s, Holt's story evokes an era on the cusp of technological and social change, when life was mostly simple, though larger problems like racial inequality loomed. Ivey portrays Tiger with the perfect mix of innocence and a sense of blossoming wisdom. Ivey's other characterizations call on a range of colorful, though never overly affected, Southern cadences and inflections. Ages 9-up. (Nov.)