cover image A Gift for Miss Milo

A Gift for Miss Milo

Jan Wahl, Jeff Wahl. Ten Speed Press, $13.95 (60pp) ISBN 978-0-89815-339-2

Poor Lavesta Margaret Milo. Just like Charles Dickens's Miss Havisham, this lady was left at the altar on her wedding day. The folks in town say Miss Milo is crazy; they don't believe for a minute her claims that handsome Charley Fender has disappeared into another dimension. But Mattie Sprunk knows better: Mattie's grandmother was Miss Milo's best friend--some say her only friend--and this determined youngster is going to honor Miss Milo's memory no matter what. Readers meet Mattie as she brings to Miss Milo's abandoned house clean sheets (Mattie has even skipped a meeting of the Knickerbocker Twinkies) ``for her special bed which she never slept in.'' With haunting prose and an aura of old-fashioned mystery, Wahl's voice becomes Mattie's, as she spins this captivating tale of love and betrayal, of reality and illusion. It's hard to believe that the splendid paintings mark Grove's book debut: using a pointillist technique, he imbues his atmospheric artwork with a fragile beauty that suits the narrative as perfectly as one of Lavesta's kid gloves. All ages. (May)