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by Jeff Brumbeau, illustrated by Gail de Marcken

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: April 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-439-51219-0
Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Billowing, jewel-toned patterns illuminate this visually and verbally lush prequel to The Quiltmaker’s Gift (2001). Having never had a want or whim go unsatisfied, a young woman—engagingly portrayed with bouncy, white-ash hair and mobile, expressive hands and features—is shocked to see poverty in the world outside her walled town. Rejecting her town Elders’ suggestion that the poor be ignored, she leaves her old life behind and, fed by kindly peasants and wild animals, begins creating quilts to warm the blanketless. As in Brumbeau’s prior outing, the tale’s language is sometimes overblown—one quilt “had the colors of hopeful mornings and rosy-cheeked children and gardens bursting in bloom.” However, de Marcken’s art more than compensates with extravagantly detailed scenes into which quilt patterns (named on the endpapers) have been incorporated, along with multi-species flights of birds and romanticized but vivacious human figures. An aerial map printed inside the jacket will be hidden by library processing, but young readers will pore over the rest of the art. (Picture book. 7-9)