MADELIA by Jan Spivey Gilchrist


Email this review


It's Sunday and her father is the reverend, so there is no doubt where Madelia is headed that morning, but what she'd like to do is stay home with her new jars of paint. Impatiently she sits in her pew, willing the service to end, when her father turns his vibrant, rhythmic oration on her. ""There is a place . . . a place"" her father sings out, ""where the colors are bright . . . yes, bright as the light that forms them in that rainbow . . . yeah . . . where grows a tree . . . a majestic tree . . . a tree which spreads her branches through the universe."" Madelia is no longer inattentive, but rapt in her father's performance and vision. She has an out-of-body experience where she rides a heavenly chariot pulled by horses of many colors. It is a beautiful gift her father has given her, and Madelia knows just what to do with it: break out those new colors and let the painting begin. Gilchrist's story has more to do with the power of oratory than with religious visions, but the incantatory passages in print--already difficult for readers--can't compete with the potency of a real speaker. The gouache and pastel illustrations, with their fresh springtime colors, capture the beat of the text and persuade onlookers as to the wonder of the event.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1997
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Dial