Young and old bridge the generational gap to find comfort amid loss.
With this slim offering, Frost returns to the novel in poems, though for a younger audience than the recent Salt (2014). Working with Bates, Frost presents middle-grade readers with white siblings Faith and Peter, who find themselves a bit lost, wondering if beloved Uncle Arthur, a gifted storyteller and trickster, will make the annual trek to visit them for the first apple harvest following his wife’s passing: “A smell in the air—if Lucy were here, / she’d breathe it deep. She’d smile wide. / That’s all it would take—we’d be on our way: / Applesauce weather, she’d say.” Aptly named Faith finds her hopes rewarded when, on the first apple’s dropping, Uncle Arthur shows up despite her mother’s and brother’s doubts and Arthur’s own hesitancy to return to a source of a lifetime of memories with Lucy. Throughout the tale, Bates’ evocative oil-based pencil drawings build on the intimacy of Frost’s narrative, deftly adding motion, whether it be in Faith’s wind-swept hair or Peter hanging upside down from a tree. Frost’s compact first-person poems shift in perspective from character to character, revealing the inner thoughts and feelings of each while simultaneously propelling the narrative and allowing for concise but realistic character development.
Light yet poignant, this multigenerational family tale shows age proves no barrier when it comes to offering solace. (Verse/fiction. 8-12)