THE OLD WOMAN WHO NAMES THINGS by Cynthia Rylant

THE OLD WOMAN WHO NAMES THINGS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Once there was a woman who was so old that she had outlived all her friends. She doesn't like being all alone without anyone to call by name, so she names things, but only the ones she can't outlive: Her bed is Roxanne, her house is Franklin, her chair is Fred, and her car is Betsy. One day a shy brown puppy appears at the gate; she feeds him and tells him to go home. He comes every day, and she always feeds him, but she never, ever names him. The day the dog doesn't come to her gate is a sad one; when more days go by with no sign of him, the old woman knows what she must do. Rylant (The Whales, p. 142, etc.) makes her humorous text spare and still, leaving plenty of room for the comedy in Brown's quirky watercolors. The old woman's hair is wound into an impossibly tall chignon; her cowboy boots are just as impossibly pointy. Betsy is a smiling 60s Chevy with fins, and the shy brown dog would worm its way into anyone's heart. Above all, the seaside cottage, riotous garden, and Rylant's words evoke a life that has been--and continues to be--lived well.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace