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THE HICKORY CHAIR by Lisa Rowe Fraustino

THE HICKORY CHAIR

By Lisa Rowe Fraustino (Author) , Benny Andrews (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-590-52248-5
Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

In this loving, warmly sentimental tale an old man fondly remembers his childhood days with his grandmother. Louis may be blind but that doesn’t stop him from sniffing out Gran, with her bleach-and-lilac scent, wherever she may be hiding, or playing “touch your nose” with her and a mirror, or listening to her “molasses voice” as she reads aloud, sitting in a favorite hickory chair. When Gran dies, Louis’s family gathers to reminisce, and learns from her will that she’s hidden notes in the possessions she wanted specific people to have. Endowed with what Gran always called “blind sight,” Louis proves best at finding those notes—but not one is addressed to him. Given the option to pick anything he’d like to keep, he chooses the chair. Restrained colors and upright, elongated figures give both feelings of dignity and intimacy to Andrews’s (Sky Sash So Blue, 1998) paint and fabric tableaux; facial features are shadowed or indistinct, but the body language clearly expresses the warmth and respect with which this family is bound. On a sweet closing note, the aging Louis finds his own youngest grandchild asleep in that hickory chair, her fist around an old, long-lost message that had been hidden in the padding for so many years. It says that the chair is meant to be his, of course, as he knew all along. A fine story with a theme seldom visited. (Picture book. 6-9)