When does someone truly learn the gift of writing and storytelling? Newbery Medalist MacLachlan takes her trademark elegant writing to the picture-book level with this semiautobiographical charmer.
Spare and intimate, the narrative speaks directly to readers, inviting them to see glimpses of memories that catch the imagination. “If you were a little girl who listened to stories,” the text begins as a white-haired grandmother walks with a mop-haired girl, both white. Under MacLachlan’s smooth hand, a flood of images returns: the little girl hiding under the dinner table to hear the grown-ups telling secrets; a sweet hound dog “taught” to talk by little fingers pulling on his lips; a small bag of sweet prairie earth to remember from where she came. She is inspired by the people in her past, the simple nature around her home, and her own vivid dreams. Illustrations by Sheban, done in watercolor, colored pencil and graphite, use light and shadow to give each page a warm, earthy glow. The images are soft and dreamlike in their gentleness, as if veiled by a scrim with an invitation to come and look closer. “You might be someone like me, / A writer.”
An inspiring choice for fertile young minds trying to find their voices by seeing the world around them. (Picture book. 4-8)