THE CHALK DOLL by Charlotte Pomerantz


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As in Angela Johnson's Tell Me a Story, Mama (p. 49/C-5), a young black child asks her mother questions about her childhood--a time of fewer possessions but just as much love. Here, in Rose's own bedroom--large and well equipped with books and toys--Rose's mother tells about events during her childhood in Jamaica, where her mother was a seamstress who was sometimes too busy to finish her own child's dress. Once, Rose's mother made herself a rag doll; she also yearned for a "chalk doll" like the ones in store windows, and treasured a damaged, discarded one that had been given her aunt at the place where she worked. Condensed milk was a special treat; there were no birthday parties; shoes were for Sunday only; but Mother tells about it all with such warmth that Rose wonders whether she has as much fun as Mother did--and suggests that although she has plenty of "chalk dolls," she too would like to make a rag doll, with Mother's help. Bright, child-like illustrations capture the glow of the Caribbean colors and the story's affection. A lovely book to share and to use as a springboard for discussion.

Page count: 32pp
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