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TUMBLEWEED SKIES by Valerie Sherrard


by Valerie Sherrard

Pub Date: June 12th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-55455-113-2
Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside

During an economic downturn in 1954, ten-year-old Ellie’s father is forced to leave her for the summer with her maternal grandmother and Uncle Roger, people she’s never known. Although Ellie is innately optimistic, it’s hard to adjust to living with a cold, distant grandmother who blames both the child and Ellie’s father for her daughter’s death in childbirth. Insightfully exploring Ellie’s sometimes pathetic efforts to both understand and please her grandmother and at the same time sensitively exposing the reasons behind the woman’s bitterness, this novel gives each of the main characters believable depth. At one astonishing point, Grandma impatiently reaches around Ellie to teach her how to cut dough: “I realized with a start that her arms were around me. Not really, but sort of….I closed my eyes and pretended, just for a minute, that she was hugging me, like an normal grandmother would do.” Quiet moments like that abound and effectively convey a remarkable level of feeling, making this a worthy and moving purchase. (Historical fiction. 9-13)