Sunday, April 13, 2008

Book Review - The Magic Kerchief

Author: Kirby Larson
Illustrator: Rosanne Litzinger
Hard Cover: 32 pages
Ages: 4 to 8
Publisher: Holiday House - First edition (September 2000)
ISBN-10: 0823414736
ISBN-13: 978-0823414734

Kirby Larson has written a captivating original folktale with a message everyone can relate to. The story may be set in the past but is all too timely for today. The protagonist, Griselda, the town "grouch", reluctantly offers a stranger a place to stay after she mysteriously appears at Griselda’s door. In fact, Griselda was quite snappy with the visitor and was ready to have her sleep on the floor by the fire but the visitor fell asleep in Griselda’s bed. The next morning, the kind visitor insisted on repaying for Griselda’s kindness with a magical scarf, promising it held great riches.

Crabby Griselda did not believe, but the scarf was nevertheless charming so Griselda tied it on and went to market. The phenomenon that happened at market was truly miraculous. Griselda lost the sting of her tongue when she shopped at the bakery and when she passed by the Lord Mayor. The only words she usually muttered to the Lord Mayor were “Paah, a donkey on two legs is still a donkey.” Instead, wearing the special kerchief, she greeted the Lord Mayor with “My aches and pains vanish when I greet an old friend.” No one was used to Griselda saying nice words. Everyone was surprised. Griselda learned through the kindness of a stranger that to have a friend you must be a friend.

The charming folk-art illustrations are done in soothing pastels and all the characters are rounded like stuffed pillows, which lends to the humorous flavor of Larson’s words. The art dominates each page and depicts an original scene with bright back ground color. This book is worth owning yourself and for gift giving.

About the author: Kirby Larson is the acclaimed author of the 2007 Newberry Honor Book, Hattie Big Sky, a young adult novel she wrote inspired by her great-grandmother, Hattie Inez Brooks Wright, who homesteaded by herself in eastern Montana as a young woman. In addition, Kirby has written three books for children, including the award-winning picture book, The Magic Kerchief. A frequent speaker, Kirby has presented at more than 200 schools, workshops, and seminars.

Write it down,