cover image Emerald Blue

Emerald Blue

Ann Marie Linden, Anne Marie Linden. Atheneum Books, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31946-4

with an eloquence borne of deep emotion, Linden (One Smiling Grandma) recounts an interlude based on her own childhood in Barbados. Her narrator, a girl, lives with her brother Em and their beloved grandmother ``on a coral island in the Caribbean.'' Their days are rife with simple pleasures, lyrically described: sweet, fresh produce; barefoot walks to school; Grandmother's tender touch as she braids and smoothes the girl's hair with coconut oil. Not even a hurricane undermines the children's profound security. But when the narrator's mother, whom the girl does not remember, returns to take her and her brother to a new country, they are beguiled by her tales of snow: ``the tiny flakes of ice like syrup shavings... like lambs we followed her.'' Linden's unhealed regrets-she never looked back from the airplane and she never saw her grandmother again-tinge this memoir with the not unpleasurable sadness that accompanies myths or fables of paradises lost. The warmth of the text radiates through Doyle's exquisite chalk pastels-as ripe with nostalgia, melancholy and raw beauty as the story they illustrate. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)