MY GREAT-AUNT ARIZONA by Gloria Houston

MY GREAT-AUNT ARIZONA

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Echoing Barbara Cooney's fictionalized picture-book biographies of strong, independent women whose stories both challenged and exemplified their times (Miss Rumphius, 1982; Hattie and the Wild Waves, 1990), Houston (her The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, 1988, was illustrated by Cooney) recounts the story of a great-aunt who spent her entire life in rural North Carolina. Though she dropped out of school to care for the family when her mother died, Arizona was eventually able to fulfill her ambition of becoming a teacher, returning to the one-room school she had attended, marrying, and bringing her own children to school with her but never going to the ""faraway places"" she visited only ""in my mind."" Arizona doesn't have Hattie's individuality or Miss Rumphius's vision, and her story has less energy and unique flavor than either of theirs; still, Houston's simple narrative is warm and exceptionally graceful and clean, while Lamb's settings (which seem to be in watercolor plus color pencil) are well researched. Her impressionistic outdoor scenes are especially attractive; figures are less expert if lively--the young Arizona reading with highbutton shoes aloft, or dancing with skirts aswirl above the knee, are engaging bits of poetic license. A nostalgic but appealing portrait of another generation.

Pub Date: March 30th, 1992
ISBN: 0060226064
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: HarperCollins