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LITTLE PEARL by Martin Widmark


by Martin Widmark ; illustrated by Emilia Dziubak ; translated by Polly Lawson

Pub Date: April 7th, 2020
ISBN: 978-178250-599-0
Publisher: Floris

Grace, a teenage girl, tells Daniel, a little boy, an exciting bedtime story.

It’s an adventure that really happened to Grace (or did it?) when she “was younger than [Daniel], when every day was as bright as this pearl.” As she shows the boy a glowing pearl ring, she tells him that her older brother disappeared. She describers their close relationship, which centered on playing their hand-carved flutes together; here, an unearthly double-page spread shows an angelic boy playing a flute while a girl sadly sits on the instrument’s end. Dziubak’s talents are on display in this haunting picture. The wordy, meandering story, translated from Swedish, is less successful. When sledding, Grace “skid[s] into an icy tunnel” and emerges as a small figure in summer clothes surrounded by large insects with a conspicuously odd manner of speech. Taken captive by a crab, she must collect pearls, using a stick to wedge open the clams (not oysters). She follows the sound of Tom’s flute wafting from a cave, where he introduces her to three other child captives. (One has brown skin and black hair; all other humans present white.) Resourceful Grace has a plan. Using their wedging sticks against the crab, they escape, stop to grab five pearls, and find themselves back in their world. Grace has her brother’s praise, a wondrous story, and a beautiful ring to boot.

This beautifully illustrated, imaginative story demands patient, willing readers.

(Picture book. 5-8)