BYE, MIS' LELA by Dorothy Carter


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 9
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 This hushed book about life and death, arrivals and departures, and hellos and good-byes, is so reflective and subdued it feels as if it should be read aloud in a whisper. Sugar Plum, an African-American preschooler, has a hard time when her mom, who works, drops her off at Mis' Lela's, but Mis' Lela is an old soul and knows how to console a youngster. Soon Sugar Plum is enjoying herself, sharing with Mis' Lela the small incidents of her day. She is droll at the arrival of Mr. Tinker Man: ``He's gonna mend one hole and punch two, making more leaks in my tin tubs,'' and understated about a visit from Mis' Bible Lady``My, that woman can talk.'' Then, when Mis' Lela dies, Sugar Plum must contend with griefemotions that are limned in childlike and immediate terms. Stevenson's soft-edged illustrations heighten the dreamy quality of the text, so much so that it seems only natural that Sugar Plum, old enough to head to school, says a quiet hello when she walks past Mis' Lela's old house, and that a familiar ``Study your lessons, Sugar Plum, and mind your manners'' seems to come floating sweetly back from the ether. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 14th, 1998
ISBN: 0-374-31013-0
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1998


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