Friday, April 17, 2009

For the Love of Autumn - A picture book review

For the Love of Autumn
Author and Illustrator: Patricia Polacco
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Philomel (August 14, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0399245413
ISBN-13: 978-0399245411

This is a love triangle story between a woman, a man and a kitten. We all know how love triangles usually turn out but this one time there is a happy ending. Also, this story touched my heart in a special way. First my granddaughter is named Autumn and secondly, I love cats. The illustrations by author/illustrator Patricia Polacco bring the story to life with tenderness and affection. Although this book is a little longer than most picture books it is well worth the extra read and could possibly be read to children under seven in two settings.

Polacco writes about Danielle, a young student teacher, who adopts a beautiful kitten named Autumn. The kitten has gray and black stripes and a white tummy. Danielle loves Autumn, her perfect little kitten. They eat popcorn together every night. One day Danielle gets an offer for a permanent teaching position in Port Townsend, Washington. They move to a charming cottage by the sea. Autumn helps Danielle with everything, including planting the garden, or rather digging in the garden.

One night a huge storm comes up and Autumn is caught outside and disappears. Every day Danielle looks for Autumn. Even her students join in the search. Although still distraught, Danielle decides to put Autumn’s things away. Six weeks later, to everyone’s amazement, Autumn literally drops out of a tree in the garden right into Danielle’s arms. Autumn’s coat is shiny and clean and her tail has a bandage on it. Someone has been taking care of her. The question is who?

To Danielle’s surprise, Autumn continues to disappear every couple of days. Each time she comes back a note is attached to her collar. Eventually Danielle and her students unravel the mystery. Danielle meets Stephen Norton, the man who took care of Autumn and their mutual love for Autumn grows into a love for each other.

This is a story of true love and providence. I recommend it. Obviously the main attraction for young readers is Autumn’s playful personality and her antics.

Patricia Polacco has been writing and illustrating about animals for decades. She is the author and illustrator of over forty books for young readers. When she is not at home in Union City, Michigan, she is traveling all over the country, visiting schools, bookstores, and conferences.

Write it down,