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PEARL VERSES THE WORLD by Sally Murphy Kirkus Star


by Sally Murphy & illustrated by Heather Potter

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4821-3
Publisher: Candlewick

In this poignantly illustrated novella in free verse, a young girl reckons with the loss of her grandmother.

Australian artists Murphy and Potter team up here to depict the story of Pearl Barrett, a budding poet and loner whose loving household—consisting of her mother, grandmother and herself—gets rocked to the core when she finds her granny “doesn’t remember who we are.” Though Pearl feels “[w]herever I am / no one sees me” and “my poems don’t rhyme / and neither do I,” such feelings of isolation only intensify as she wrestles with sadness, fear and anger on learning her mother is contemplating moving Granny to a nursing facility. When her failing grandmother dies, Pearl learns the important lesson that, through loss, one may not only find compassion but community. Potter’s evocative pencil-and-wash drawings, with their excellent renderings of facial expressions and mood, wonderfully complement Murphy’s thoughtful narrative in depicting the emotions of a scene. Altogether, the tale has much to offer in terms of grappling with personal identity as well as the death of a beloved.

A tender, therapeutic treatment of loss, perfect for children dealing with the baffling complexities of adult dementia. (Poetry. 8-12)