Archive for June, 2016

Review of Fearless Flyer, by Heather Lang and Raúl Colón

Monday, June 13th, 2016

fearless_flyer_largeFearless Flyer

Ruth Law and Her Flying Machine

by Heather Lang
illustrated by Raúl Colón

Calkins Creek (Highlights), Honesdale, Pennsylvania, 2016. 40 pages.
Starred Review

Did you know that in 1916, the person to set the American longest nonstop flight record was a woman? This picture book tells the story of Ruth Law, an early American aviator.

100 years ago, flying was dangerous and primitive. The pictures speak volumes, with Ruth Law bundled up in layers of coats with only her feet protected from the elements, steering the plane using two levers. She navigated with a little scrolling six-inch map she strapped into her lap. She had to hold the right lever with her knee while she turned the knobs on the map box.

Early on, the book explains why Ruth Law was so successful:

Few aviators dared to fly cross-country in their flimsy flying machines. If an engine had trouble, by the time the aviator realized it, there was often nowhere to land.

Ruth had a secret weapon. She knew every nut and bolt on her machine.

“I could anticipate what would happen to the motor by the sound of it.”

The text in this book is straightforward, interspersed with quotes from Ruth. The story is of her plan to fly from Chicago to New York City and to show that what men can do, a woman can do.

Raúl Colón’s beautiful pictures evoke the time period beautifully. By seeing pictures, you realize just how early in the history of aviation were Ruth’s adventures. Her record-breaking flight happened in November 1916.

She didn’t have a radio or any instruments but a compass. She didn’t even have a cockpit. With two levers and a map box perched on a rickety-looking set of wings, Ruth Law broke the boundaries of what could be done.

“The sky was my limit and the horizon my sphere. It’s any woman’s sphere if she has nerve and courage and faith in herself. She’s got to have faith in herself.”

I expect this picture book will inspire more girls and boys to take to the sky.

heatherlangbooks.com
boydsmillspress.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Sonderling Sunday – To Outwit the Belgian Prankster

Sunday, June 12th, 2016

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday, that time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translations of children’s books.

Sonderlinge3

This week, it’s back to The Order of Odd-Fish, by James Kennedy, Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge. We are ready to begin Chapter 20!

This sentence seems good to know:
“Ken Kiang was quite pleased with himself.”
= Ken Kiang war ziemlich zufrieden mit sich.

“to outwit the Belgian Prankster”
= den Belgischen Scherzkeks zu übertölpeln

“to disrupt his plans”
= seine Pläne zu vereiteln

“to overthrow his infernal machinations”
= seine teuflischen Machenschaften zu durchkreuzen

Try to think of a reason to say this!
“Municipal Squires Authority”
= Städtischen Knappenbehörde

“a small army of clerks”
= eine kleine Armee von Sachbearbeitern

“shamelessly groveled”
= krochen (“crawled”)

“moment of idleness”
= Moment des Müßiggangs

“devil-may-care”
= tollkühne (“foolhardy”)

“dingy dormitory”
= schmuddelige Schlafsaal

It’s always interesting how names are translated.
“Bimblebridge” = Pimperbrück

“partition” = Trennwand (“divide-wall”)

“simplified” = vereinfacht

“distractions” = Ablenkungen

“moth-eaten” = mottenzerfressene

“bolt” = Schraube

“a wire cut” = ein durchgeschnittener Draht

“file” = Aktenordner

“ever greater sophistication” = immer raffinierterer Durchtriebenheit

“deployed, canceled, reversed, appropriated, adapted, and foiled”
= ersonnen, widerrufen, ins Gegenteil gekehrt, angepasst, zweckdienlich gemacht und vereitelt

Here’s a nice long word:
“treaties”
= Waffenstillstandsverträge

“decoys” = Köder

“red herrings” = Ablenkungsmanöver
(“distraction-maneuver”)

“Ken Kiang’s mind reeled.” = Ken Kiang schwindelte. (“Ken Kiang was made dizzy.”)

“excruciating subtlety” = quälenden Subtilität

Here’s a phrase you should know if you travel in Germany!
“pie damnation” = Kuchen-Verdammnis

“slouched” = schlurfte

This sounds better in German:
“a distant smile on his lips”
= ein abwesendes Lächeln auf den Lippen

And the last sentence for tonight, at the end of a section:
“He had the most wonderful idea.”
= Er hatte soeben die wundervollste Eingebung von allen gehabt.

Good night! May wundervollste Eingebungen be yours until next time!

Review of The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh, by Kathryn Aalto

Saturday, June 11th, 2016

natural_world_of_winnie_the_pooh_largeThe Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh

A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood

by Kathryn Aalto

Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, 2015. 307 pages.

Back in 1999, my family and I got to visit Ashdown Forest and play Poohsticks at the original bridge, so I was delighted when I learned that someone had written a book about the place where A. A. Milne lived and where the real Christopher Robin played, the sites made famous in Winnie-the-Pooh.

This book is filled with photographs, which makes it especially wonderful. The author starts by telling the life stories of Alan Alexander Milne and Ernest Howard Shepard and how they came to collaborate.

Milne had a childhood rich in experiences of wandering the outdoors, and provided the same for his son. Telling about his life shines light on the stories he later chose to tell.

For Milne, warm early memories of roaming the natural world with his brother Ken inspired him to create the setting for what would arguably become the greatest children’s books of the twentieth century, touching generations, selling millions of copies, and being translated into dozens of languages. The books were richly inspired by his adventures with Ken and reflect themes of freedom, adventure, friendship, and cooperation. When Milne wrote about the Hundred Acre Wood, it was a way to revisit his own golden memories, as we shall soon find out.

Milne and Shepard had an unusually involved collaboration, and Milne shared royalties with Shepard, in an unusual relationship for that time.

The emotions in the illustrations came from the inkwell of his heart and observations of real-life, but Milne also had a hand in matters. He expressed how he envisioned the stories and characters. Drawings evolved in conversations over tea and lunch, in letters between the two men, at the Milne home on Mallord Street in London, and, of course, on a visit to Hartfield. Unlike Picasso, who said, “I draw not what I see but what I think,” Shepard drew from real life. In fact, his visual memory was so acute that he could re-create on paper events and people he remembered from years earlier. Knowing how Ashdown Forest inspired the stories and setting Milne created, Shepard visited and sketched Ashdown Forest in 1926, the two men walking to Poohsticks Bridge, Gills Lap, and elsewhere. The bee tree, Wol’s tree, Galleons Lap, and the Enchanted Place were real places Shepard interpreted with a notebook, pen, and pencil in hand. He wanted to capture a tangible sense of place to set the adventures. He sketched pine trees and heathland and watched Christopher Robin making mud pies with Graham, Shepard’s son, in the gardens at Cotchford Farm.

This was interesting and explains why the drawings of Winnie-the-Pooh don’t look a whole lot like the original bear belonging to Christopher Robin which is kept in the New York Public Library:

Shepard’s masterful illustrations were tenderly drawn from real life. He enhanced Milne’s characters – their dialogue, manner, and adventures – to capture the charm Milne put in words. All the creatures were drawn from Christopher Robin’s own stuffed animals except for one: Winnie-the-Pooh. This characterization was inspired by Growler, a teddy bear belonging to Shepard’s son. Years later, Shepard recalled telling Milne, rather sheepishly, how Growler lost a fight with a dog in a Montreal garden. Perhaps they commiserated. Perhaps Milne felt relief. He, too, had a secret. Roo, he revealed, had met a similar fate in the jaws of a dog in a nearby orchard.

After writing about the history of the two creators and their collaboration, the author talks about the places – actual and imaginary – from the books. This is the part that makes me want to go back to Ashdown Forest. She found the origins or inspiration for nearly all the places in the book. Yes, some of them I definitely remember visiting with my family, but I will bring this guidebook if I ever go again and find the places I missed. I will also plan more than one afternoon to spend there. She makes a strong case that the best way to explore A. A. Milne’s natural world is by walking, and there are an abundance of walking paths in Ashdown Forest.

We also would have done well with the tip to bring our own sticks to the Poohsticks bridge! There aren’t many to be found at the site where Christopher Robin played the traditional game – though we did see lots of sticks downriver! In the one site she mentions apart from Ashdown Forest area, the author and her family went to the 2014 World Poohsticks Championship in Oxfordshire.

The third section of the book tells, fittingly, about the natural world of Ashdown Forest, its history and the flora and fauna found there.

Though the Hundred Acre Wood is imaginary, you can still see it in the gorse, heather, and Scots pines of Ashdown Forest, which lives on and changes slowly over time. Milne’s classic stories also live on, showing no signs of abating in the hearts and minds of readers around the world. What many are not aware of, however, is how much history is present in this ancient landscape, shaped as it was (and is) by kings, commoners, and conservators. The forest has a story of its own – one that began long before Milne’s characters ambled in and became a part of it.

With this three-pronged approach – Milne’s life, the book places, and the history of the forest – the book feels a little repetitive. Poohsticks, for example, are mentioned more than once in each section. The author uses the least excuse to quote from Winnie-the-Pooh, which is certainly forgivable, though wasn’t always necessary (at least for this reader, who pretty much has it memorized myself). In the section about the flora and fauna, there were many photos, but they didn’t always match up to what was mentioned, though that may just be a layout issue.

Overall, this is a wonderful book that makes you want to go immediately to Ashdown Forest and spend a few weeks with the spirit of a boy and a bear playing in the Enchanted Place at the top of the forest. I wish we’d had this book before we visited, and now I must go again some day. Anyone in my family, be alerted: There is a place called The Hatch Inn in the neighborhood, where William Butler Yeats and Ezra Pound used to hang out. (My family name is Hatch.) If I had known this existed, I would have made sure to visit that as well.

How does the story continue between Christopher Robin and Pooh bear? That is a narrative left to our imaginations. But we can return to that place, the Hundred Acre Wood, with its honey trees and sandy pits, rabbit holes and tree houses. It is not merely a fabled literary landscape that exists only in our minds. It is Ashdown Forest, a living landscape where Milne walked for decades and which inspired him to set these stories. You and I can visit it today. And if you and I can visit those enchanting places in more than our imaginations, is that time of our lives truly gone?

kathrynaalto.com
timberpress.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of The Thank You Book, by Mo Willems

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

thank_you_book_largeThe Thank You Book

by Mo Willems

Hyperion Books for Children, New York, 2016. 64 pages.
Starred Review

Alas! Alas! The final Elephant & Piggie book is here! However, it’s a good one, and a nice cap to the series.

The Thank You Book is about thanking everyone. And Piggie means everyone. Every minor character who has ever appeared in the series shows up in this book. Piggie thanks Snake for playing ball with her, Squirrels for great ideas, and Doctor Cat for being a great doctor.

My favorite is The Pigeon, whom Piggie thanks for never giving up. She says, “And I am sorry you do not get to be in our books.” The Pigeon answers, “That is what you think.”

However, Gerald insists that Piggie is forgetting someone – someone very important. It turns out that important person is not who readers expect.

This is a lovely finish to the series – if it had to finish. Piggie says that she is one lucky pig. Readers out there are tremendously lucky readers!

thankorama.com pigeonpresents.com
hyperionbooksforchildren.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/thank_you_book.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of I Really Like Slop! by Mo Willems

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

i_really_like_slop_largeI Really Like Slop!

by Mo Willems

Hyperion Books for Children, New York, 2015. 57 pages.
Starred Review

Here’s Mo Willems’ answer to Green Eggs and Ham!

Gerald, an elephant, and Piggie are best friends. But Piggie likes food that appeals to pigs.

In this book, Piggie dons a chef’s hat and has created a bowl of green Slop with flies buzzing around it. She really likes slop, and asks her best friend to try some. “The flies are how you know it is ripe!”

Even with the simple cartoons that characterize Mo Willems’ drawings, there’s all kinds of physical humor here. Facial expressions show a wide range of interest and disgust. And once Gerald tries slop? His body turns various different colors and patterns.

But this is not Green Eggs and Ham. The reader is pretty sure from Gerald’s reactions that slop tastes terrible.

When Piggie asks him if he really likes slop, Gerald answers:

No.
I do not really like slop.
But, I am glad I tried it.

Because I really like you.

There’s a punchline follow up to that when Piggie has a suggestion for dessert.

I can’t think of another combination of Friendship Story and Trying-New-Foods Story (though there may well be one. If you can think of one, tell me in the comments). After all, Sam-I-Am isn’t really much of a friend!

Kids will love the humor in this story. Parents will have another chance to give the “It’s good to try new foods” message, along with an acknowledgment that sometimes the new food tastes like slop.

pigeonpresents.com
hyperionbooksforchildren.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit, by P. G. Wodehouse

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

jeeves_and_the_feudal_spirit_largeJeeves and the Feudal Spirit

by P. G. Wodehouse

The Overlook Press, Woodstock & New York, 2001. (First published in 1954.) 231 pages.

Honestly? The reason I continue to review Jeeves and Wooster books is so I can remember which ones I’ve read. I will list them in order on the side for the benefit of my readers, and the more I include, the more helpful that is. (Not that order makes a huge difference with these books.) The library has The Collector’s Wodehouse, which I must admit, I would love to own myself. But thanks to space constraints, I am very happy the library owns them, so I don’t need to.

Yes, the books featuring the young and feckless Bertie Wooster and his brilliant gentleman’s personal gentleman Jeeves are all very similar. But they are also all clever, quirky, and laugh-out-loud hilarious.

There is generally a young lady whom Bertie is in danger of marrying. He needs to keep her romance flourishing with one of his buddies. In this book, the lady in question is Florence Craye.

You see, the trouble with Florence was that though, as I have stated, indubitably comely and well equipped to take office as a pin-up girl, she was, as I have also stressed, intellectual to the core, and the ordinary sort of bloke like myself does well to give this type of female as wide a miss as he can manage.

You know how it is with these earnest, brainy beazels of what is called strong character. They can’t let the male soul alone. They want to get behind it and start shoving. Scarcely have they shaken the rice from their hair in the car driving off for the honeymoon than they pull up their socks and begin moulding the partner of joys and sorrows, and if there is one thing that gives me the pip, it is being moulded. Despite adverse criticism from many quarters – the name of my Aunt Agatha is one that springs to the lips – I like B. Wooster the way he is. Lay off him, I say. Don’t try to change him, or you may lose the flavour.

Even when we were merely affianced, I recalled, this woman had dashed the mystery thriller from my hand, instructing me to read instead a perfectly frightful thing by a bird called Tolstoy. At the thought of what horrors might ensue after the clergyman had done his stuff and she had a legal right to bring my grey hairs in sorrow to the grave, the imagination boggled.

Additional customary motifs are also present. His amiable Aunt Dahlia is in a scrape of her own and risks losing the services of her chef Anatole (a disaster of epic proportions). Bertie is expected to help in a scheme fraught with danger. Bertie has dared to go against Jeeves’ fashion sense (always a bad idea) by growing a moustache. And as usual, Jeeves is the one who can tie up all the threads neatly and save the day.

Some of the Bertie and Jeeves books are short stories and separate adventures. This one is a unified whole, with all the more threads to tie up neatly at the end.

I’ve gotten where I like to keep a P. G. Wodehouse novel handy to dip into now and then. I don’t really lose the train of thought – I know where they’re going by now! – and it’s sure to get me laughing and simply appreciating the clever word play. If I want to lighten up and give myself a few smiles, I pull out my current Wodehouse. I’ll be sad when I finish all the Jeeves books, but I won’t nearly be done when that happens.

If you haven’t tried Wodehouse yet, do so some time when you want to lighten up. It won’t fail you.

And a big thank-you to my sister Becky for introducing me to him years ago!

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of Sunny Side Up, by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

sunny_side_up_largeSunny Side Up

by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

with color by Lark Pien

Scholastic, 2015. 218 pages.
Starred Review

Here’s a graphic novel from the authors of the ever-popular Babymouse. This one’s a little more serious.

Set in August 1976, Sunny was looking forward to a family beach trip to finish off the summer – but instead she’s been sent to stay with her grandpa in Florida. Florida shouldn’t be so bad – It’s the home of Disneyworld! But Gramps lives in a retirement community. All his friends are as old as he is.

Fortunately, there’s one other kid at the retirement community, the son of the groundskeeper. He and Sunny start hanging out, doing things like finding lost cats and missing golf balls. But even better, he introduces Sunny to comic books.

But meanwhile, Sunny’s remembering back to things that happened before she left home. Her older brother used to be a whole lot of fun, but he had been changing recently. Sunny tried to help – and it didn’t end well. Is it her own fault she got sent away to Florida?

This is a fun and gentle story that lightly touches the issue of a family member with substance abuse. Mostly it’s about a kid learning to have a lovely summer even in a retirement community. Sunny is a protagonist you can’t help but love.

jenniferholm.com
matthewholm.net
larkpien.blogspot.com
scholastic.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of The Marvels, by Brian Selznick

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

marvels_largeThe Marvels

by Brain Selznick

Scholastic Press, New York, 2015. 670 pages.

Here is another book by Brian Selznick which mingles his detailed, fascinating pencil art with a written story.

In this book, the art – at the front and the back – tells a separate story from the written story in the middle of the book. There is a twist as to how the two are related.

The pictures in the art go back to a shipwreck that happened in 1776 to a boy named Billy Marvel, then continue to a theater in London, where the Marvel family became actors for generations. But one boy didn’t belong in the theater like the rest of his family.

The written part of the story also takes us to London, in 1990, to a boy running away from boarding school and looking for his uncle. His uncle lives in a house elaborately furnished as if a Victorian family still lives there. And there are hints of the Marvel family all over the house.

I am not necessarily the best audience for Brian Selznick’s work. I found that, as with his other books, I wasn’t quite drawn in to the story. Maybe because I’m not used to getting my stories through art? Maybe children more accustomed to graphic novels will enjoy it more?

Whatever the reason, I can and do still appreciate Brian Selznick’s craftsmanship. His art is detailed and exquisite. As for the story, it seemed a little melodramatic at first – but then he revealed a reason for that. I did appreciate the way he tied the two stories together in a way I hadn’t seen coming. He also tied the book to an actual house in London in the Author’s Note in a way that added poignancy to the story.

Brian Selznick’s books tend to have an alienated boy character who uncovers a mystery and works to solve it with the help of a friend and maybe in spite of curmudgeonly grown-ups. I’m not quite sure why I don’t seem to naturally respond to these characters, but I can easily imagine kids who would.

This is also a beautiful book. Besides the detailed artwork, the page edges are trimmed with gold and there are golden decorations on the front cover. It’s a big fat book which is also a quick read, because the majority of the story is told through pictures.

Definitely give this to kids who have enjoyed The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck. Each of the books is a completely separate story, though, so perhaps The Marvels will win Brian Selznick some new fans.

scholasticpress.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of The Great Monkey Rescue, by Sandra Markle

Monday, June 6th, 2016

great_monkey_rescue_largeThe Great Monkey Rescue

Saving the Golden Lion Tamarins

by Sandra Markle

Millbrook Press, Minneapolis, 2015. 40 pages.

Here’s a nonfiction picture book about science – with a practical problem of saving an endangered species.

In the 1960s, scientists believed only about two hundred of Brazil’s wild golden lion tamarins were still alive. Their habitat was shrinking, and the ones in zoos were not having babies that survived.

This book tells the story of how that turned around. First, people learned more about their habits in the wild to help them live better in zoos. Then they learned how to successfully introduce zoo-born tamarins back to the wild.

A recent problem was that remaining forest habitats were in islands separated by cattle pasture, which tamarins couldn’t safely cross. Conservationists purchased land to plant a forest bridge between separate habitats, thus expanding their range.

This story is told in a much more interesting way in the book, accompanied by an abundance of pictures of the photogenic animals.

It’s a story about science and activism and hope – accompanied by adorably cute pictures! I’m already thinking I’ve got booktalking gold.

lernerbooks.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of The Passion of Dolssa, by Julie Berry

Saturday, June 4th, 2016

passion_of_dolssa_largeThe Passion of Dolssa

by Julie Berry

Viking, 2016. 478 pages.
Starred Review

Julie Berry writes striking and memorable novels that pull you right into a time and culture quite different from our own. The Passion of Dolssa is about a young mystic in medieval Provensa who has visions of Jhesus, her beloved. But unfortunately for her, she has them during the Inquisition.

The book is presented as a series of documents from the time of the Inquisition discovered in later years. Dolssa’s testimony says things like this:

I was a young girl when my beloved first appeared to me. Just a girl of no consequence, the child of pious parents who were much older than most. . . .

My beloved was my great romance, and — impossible miracle! — I was his. He caught me up on wings of light, and showed me the realms of his creation, the glittering gemstones paving his heaven. He left my body weak and spent, my spirit gorged with honey.

There are no words for this. Like the flesh, like a prison cell, so, too, are words confining, narrow, chafing, stupid things, incapable of expressing one particle of what I felt, what I feel, when I see my beloved’s face, when he takes me in his arms.

There is only music. Only light.

Dolssa begins preaching to some friends of her Mama, and more and more people come.

In our Father’s house, I told the believers, there is never alarm, but only gladness, love, and peace.

Not long after that, the interrogations began.

Dolssa is sentenced to burn at the stake, along with her mother. But after her mother’s death, Dolssa’s beloved rescues her from the flames. She is able to flee.

While she’s hiding by the roadside, in fear and hunger and sickness, she is discovered by Botille, a tavernkeeper and matchmaker with two sisters who all have particular gifts. They take Dolssa in and hide her.

But the Inquisitors are relentless. When Dolssa starts healing the people of the village, how can they keep her presence secret?

Part of what’s interesting about this book is all the research the author did about the time and place. There are 32 pages of back matter after the story finishes. (You might want to check the Glossaries and Dramatis Personae before you finish. I didn’t realize they were there in back, because I try hard not to give myself spoilers. The back matter does not include spoilers and could be helpful. I did fine without it, but it might have made it a little easier to get the people with medieval names and the Occitan words straight.)

This is a wonderful book, with well-drawn characters. Botille and her sisters are not traditionally good folk, but they shine so much brighter than the official church represented by the Inquisitors. (The local priest is colorful, with many children in the village.) I learned about this time period in a way I will never forget.

julieberrybooks.com
penguin.com

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?