GRANDMOTHER BRYANT'S POCKET by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Kirkus Star


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After the death of her dog in a barn fire, Maine farm girl Sarah Bryant has bad dreams that stick ""to her skin like . . . soot."" Her parents try to comfort her, but when the dreams persist, her father takes her to Grandmother Bryant for a cure. Her grandmother gives Sarah a cloth purse or ""pocket,"" embroidered with the words Fear Not, but as Sarah's grandfather, Shoe Peg, predicts, ""There are no quick cures."" In time Sarah is helped over her nightmares by a one-eyed cat who comes to sleep on her pillow and, indirectly, by a greedy neighbor who finds Sara's lost pocket and connives to keep it. Martin (Washing the Willow Tree Loon, 1995, etc.) gives the story, which is set in 1787, a distinctive tone in poetic chapters that are seldom more than a page long. Aphorisms and folk wisdom intertwine with the telling; characterizations are revealed in two or three unforgettable lines (""Beck Chadwick would walk uphill to make trouble"" and ""would rather spread bad words that eat apples""). Mathers's cameo-like illustrations harmonize beautifully with the story; its theme resonates.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0618033092
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin