Grandma Beaver and her grandkit, Bella, share a special bond and a family tradition.
When Bella is born, her grandmother sews a bag that she calls a blessing bag. Over the years, Grandma Beaver places special rocks into the bag as gifts. On the rocks, she writes words that come to have meaning in her granddaughter’s life: love, dedication, honesty, beauty, kindness and courage. After the addition of each stone, Bella learns a lesson about the word as she experiences an appreciation for that quality in her own life. As the wordy story progresses, the illustrations show an aging and more fragile grandmother, and Bella learns what courage is when Grandma Beaver dies. The birth of Bella’s brother allows her to repeat the beloved custom and remember her grandmother at the same time. The gentle illustrations are primarily rendered in earthy browns and greens, adding reds and pinks when Bella tells a lie or confesses to Mama that she has not truly lived up to her grandmother’s expectations. Each spread leaves little to the reader’s imagination, as every nuance of text is expressed in smiling suns, flying butterflies and pensive owls. Schools embracing character education often choose a "word of the year," and this offering will dovetail nicely there.
Clearly didactic and unabashedly sentimental, though undeniably well-meant. (Picture book. 4-6)