MARRA'S WORLD by Elizabeth Coatsworth


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In Pure Magic (1973) Coatsworth wrote of a boy who was a fox; here strange, shunned Marra is the daughter of a seal. When a new doctor moves to the island and his daughter Alison chooses Marra for a friend, the other children stop taunting her though they never make her one of them. And when the doctor's wife makes properly fitting clothes for Marra and generally takes an interest, both Marra's life and the islanders' view of her begin to improve and even abusive Granny softens measurably. Marra of course is still different: though she writes excellent poetry she will probably never be able to do sums, she still wonders where her mother went and why she left the family years ago, and one day on a clif with Alison she hears a mysterious haunting singing and feels compelled to join in. Again as in Pure Magic Coatsworth uses a normal child as realistic ballast and Alison does help keep this on course when the two girls are caught in a fog and Marra's mother, a mournful gray seal named Nerea, leads their boat to shore. It's ail very slight and slightly odd but pleasant too, and less self-consciously hushed than Pure Magic. And you can ride a long way on that first sentence--""Marra's grandmother hated her and showed it every day of her life.

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 1975
Page count: 83pp
Publisher: Greenwillow/Morrow