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MISS OPAL’S AUCTION by Susan Vizurraga


by Susan Vizurraga & illustrated by Mark Graham

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-8050-5891-5
Publisher: Henry Holt

A young narrator remembers the good times she had with her old friend, Miss Opal, as she watches an auctioneer sell her friend’s things. Miss Opal is moving. “I’m choosing a place now . . . while I’ve still got sense enough to choose it myself. Besides, I won’t have room for all these things . . .” Each piece that the auctioneer sells evokes a memory for Annie: the recipe book with its many notes marking her favorite cookies; the old radio she tuned to the Saturday baseball game; and the ice-cream mixer with the hand crank that Miss Opal used for blueberry ice cream from the blueberries that Annie picked. The memories overcome Annie and she realizes just how much she will miss her friend. Finally, though the recipe book has been sold, Miss Opal buys it back and presents it to her young friend, though why she didn’t just give it to her in the first place is never explained. The rhythmic text smoothly moves back and forth in time. The oil paintings, with predominant colors of blues and purples, capture a sun-drenched day perfectly while at the same time providing a nostalgic air. Annie is a blonde, blue-eyed little girl in a bright aqua dress, with white shoes and socks, furthering the old-fashioned look of the pictures. It is interesting to note that Miss Opal and her friends watching the auction from the porch are African-American while all of the people who come to the auction are white. A quiet read-aloud story with lovely pictures and a sweet message about intergenerational friendship. (Picture book. 6-9)