cover image Miss Opals Auction

Miss Opals Auction

Susan Vizurraga. Henry Holt & Company, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-5891-8

As this sweetly nostalgic picture book opens, Miss Opal's things are being auctioned off in preparation for her move to a retirement community. Young Annie watches as one by one the auctioneer holds up items that trigger fond memories of time she spent with her elderly neighbor. An ice-cream churn reminds her of a summer day when the two took turns cranking up a cool confection; old cookie tins prompt thoughts of the Christmas baking they did together. Their activities coupled with Graham's (The Dream Jar) oil paintings of porcelain pitchers, wooden hutches and teddy bears underscore a feeling of timelessness. Miss Opal is sanguine about leaving ("" `I'm choosing a place now,' she said, `while I've still got sense enough to choose it myself' ""), but Annie is not. And when she sees Miss Opal's cookbook on the auction block, she retreats under a magnolia tree: ""Her recipes were gone, and soon she would be, too."" In a denouement that implies the importance of tradition, Miss Opal buys back the cookbook and presents it to Annie. Vizurraga's (Our Old House) measured prose and Graham's soft brush strokes of a lush summer day create a leisurely portrait of an affectionate intergenerational bond. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)