Nine-year-old Flora experiences the loss of a pet, the separation of her parents, and the start of fourth grade, but a year of good changes is in store for her.
It’s 1972, and Flora Smallwood loves growing up in the small town of Rosetown, Indiana. She especially enjoys reading three times a week in the purple velveteen chair at Wings and a Chair Used Books. Flora needs the respite: She just lost her dog and is dealing with her parents’ recent separation. Fourth grade is starting, and everything seems different. Flora finds comfort in her old routines with Nessy, her best friend, and new routines with Yury, her new friend from Ukraine. As the year goes on, there are nice changes in store for her family and friends, such as new pets, lessons, and interests. From a third-person point of view, readers get a glimpse into Flora’s quaint, small-town life as she deals with all the changes, good and bad. Rylant shapes Flora’s experiences and thoughts such that they are accessible to all children, as Flora tries to hold on to the old and comfortable while adjusting to the new and different. The narrative is a lovely story of Flora’s daily life interlaced with hints of the 1970s. The book assumes a white default.
A sweet story for children dealing with change. (Historical fiction. 8-12)