Kirkus Reviews QR Code
HELEN KELLER by Lesa Cline-Ransome


The World in Her Heart

by Lesa Cline-Ransome & illustrated by James E. Ransome

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: July 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-057074-3
Publisher: Collins

Young Helen Keller cannot hear, see or speak, but she knows the scent of vanilla cake coming out of the oven, the feel of her mother’s fancy silk dress and that the dog is tense because the horses are outside. A stranger arrives, one who traces shapes into her hand, each day, all the time. Helen finally connects these shapes with meaning, and spells “w-a-t-e-r” back to her teacher. She learns quickly, even telling the flowers apart by texture and scent, until she can spell, and define, the love that connects her to her teacher, Annie Sullivan. Ransome’s sunlit colors and warm textures indoors and out make an excellent visual counterpoint to the rhythmic text, though too often they do not capture the young Keller’s glowing beauty. More problematic from a nonfiction standpoint is the textual interpolation of Helen’s thoughts as she puzzles out the world, but the device works well to evoke her shuttered-in world to sighted and hearing children. A nice introduction to a fascinating life for the very youngest of readers. (Picture book. 5-8)