In 1830 a tearful young woman flings a ring into the air, and it lands in a seaside meadow in Ireland.
That is the last time the woman appears; the ring’s inscription, “Love Never Dies,” appears on the title page and is never clearly seen again. The tale follows the ring from its first landing to its ultimate destination. Shifted by erosion, then sheltered by an oak tree until caught in a deer’s hoof and kicked into a wheat field, the ring is then picked up in a crow’s beak, dropped into the sea, and swallowed by a fish. When the fish is caught and gutted, the ring is discovered and sold in New York City. Jules and Sonny, who earn money as subway performers in 1967, buy the ring, then head home through the winter night. Graham employs language that emphasizes lovely quiet moments and the continuous, slow passage of time, as “the seasons kept turning,” and “moons passed many times overhead.” The lovely, softly toned illustrations beautifully complement the text. Sonny and Jules, whose emotions are depicted mainly through body language, present white. However, indications of time, whether specific or esoteric, are incomprehensible to very young children, who are grounded in the now, gearing it for older readers than the preschoolers recommended by the publisher.
Lovely to look at and to ponder, best suited to children of a philosophical bent. (Picture book. 5-9)