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Susie Wilde (Children's Literature)
The family cannot talk about how the baby in their family has died. One day a stranger leaves a baby named Sophie with them and promises to come back. They all love Sophie and while she grows up with them, they begin to talk about the baby they lost. A year of bittersweet healing follows where, as Sophie grows in babyhood, the family grows in understanding and communicating. All the characters are interesting, and the story is sad and happy at the same time. 1993, Delacorte, $15.95 and $3.99. Ages 11 up.
Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1993)
In a spare novel with the resonance of myth, two troubled families are healed when their paths conjoin. Some years ago on a remote island resembling Nantucket, Larkin's parents are silently mourning the death of a baby they never named and never described to his sister. The day the summer people leave, they find year-old Sophie on their doorstep with a note: "I will lose her forever if you don't do this, so pleese keep her. I will come back for her one day..." Papa wants to tell the police, but--after impassioned discussion--Mama dissuades him. Sophie stays until spring; and though Papa warns "Don't love her," once they've cared for her, and shared her first words, the parting is hard indeed. Yet while Larkin fears this new bereavement--especially for Mama--love ("That word with a life of its own...flying above all of us like the birds") opens the door to sharing their grief about their own baby. Once Sophie is gone, their feelings find words--and also lead to the dead baby's being given a name. At the story's beginning, Larkin's parents have abandoned her emotionally (an intriguing contrast to Journey); but Sophie's subsequent memories of her sojourn--in lyrical vignettes plus a poignant last scene of her return visit ten years later--are not of separation but of love: faces, gestures, images. Some circumstances (not least Sophie's being left with strangers so that her mother can care for a desperately ill husband) border on fantasy, yet the almost surreal events convey emotional truths with a power that surpasses literal realism. A searching, beautifully written story. 1993, Delacorte, $13.95. Starred Review. © 1993 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
After bidding good-bye to the last of the ``summer people,'' Larkin, her parents and grandmother return home to find a baby in a basket. ``I cannot take care of her now, but I know she will be safe with you. . . . I will come back for her one day. I love her,'' reads a note from the child's mother. The little one's name is Sophie, and she brings a great deal of joy and comfort to the household. Yet casting a shadow on this spirited baby's luminous presence is the family's knowledge that she does not truly belong to them, and that she cannot take the place of Larkin's brother, who died in infancy. The Newberry Medalist's lean yet lyrical narrative gracefully entwines past and present, as brief passages present an older Sophie's fragmented memories of her interlude with the family. Inspired by poems, songs and Sophie's growing vocabulary, Larkin (whose mother communicates through her paintings and whose father expresses himself through his tabletop tap dancing) ponders the meaning and power of words (``There were words in the spaces between us; those words we had never spoken, words about what I thought was right''). If the story is not as compelling as Sarah, Plain and Tall or Journey , MacLachlan's style remains masterly. It is difficult to read her sentences only once, and even more difficult to part from her novel. All ages. (Oct.)
Betsy Hearne (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September 1993 (Vol. 47, No. 1))
A poignant tale of doubles, this first-person narrative reveals twelve-year-old Larkin's grief over the recent death of her newborn brother and her ambivalence toward Sophie, a toddler abandoned on their Northeast coast island doorstep. Larkin's parents, too hurt to name or discuss their loss with Larkin, open their hearts to Sophie, even while knowing that Sophie's mother will return to claim her as soon as possible. Larkin's consolation has been her grandmother, Byrd, and her friend, Lalo, and the novel comprises a dance of healing in fragmentary scenes involving one or several of these six characters. MacLachlan's careful forecasting and stylistic control, reminiscent of nuances in Sarah Plain and Tall (BCCB 5/85), serve to smooth these scenes together, including Sophie's occasional memory flashbacks from ten years after the action, when Larkin brings her back to the island for Byrd's funeral. Occasionally the lyrical writing strains for effect, as when Lalo says something clever beyond his years, or word repetition emphasizes a development already rendered fictionally obvious-the one-word sentence "Love," for instance, concluding Larkin's emotional embrace with her father. Part of the plot, however, is a search for words, so the philosophizing, especially on the part of a poetic school librarian, underscores the story more than it interrupts it. What moves a reader beyond the level of MacLachlan's more generalized messages are the sharp, persistent details of daily living at which she excels; Papa's playing Rock-Paper-Scissors with Sophie long before she can understand the game makes an unforgettable motif. The dynamics of family are closely observed, and the situation itself is sensitively imagined and imaginatively rendered. R--Recommended. Reviewed from galleys (c) Copyright 1993, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1993, Delacorte, [112p], $13.95. Grades 5-7.
|Language||Call Number||LCCN||Dewey Decimal||ISBN/ISSN|
|English (eng)||PZ7.M2225 Bab 1993
0385311338 : $13.95 ($16.95 Can.)|