CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 6 . . . . November 10, 2005
The past plays a crucial part in this story, especially for Norah whose father died when she was a baby as well as for her eccentric great-aunt, who has shut herself away from the outside world because of some mystery that took place years ago. Norah is desperate to know more about the father she never knew. Great-aunt Caroline could tell her so much about his childhood – his favourite food, what he liked to read, the sports he played. There is so much that her mother doesn't know, and since her father lived for some time with his aunt, surely Caroline would not mind sharing her thought. But Great-aunt Caroline wants to leave the past buried, much to Norah's frustration.
The only thing that softens her cantankerous aunt's countenance is her collection of birdhouses. They clutter her backyard, and Caroline makes sure the seeds are replenished daily. It's when Norah looks out the window at these birdhouses that she sees Jody for the first time, a boy about her age that no one else can see. There is a mystery here, a connection between Caroline's past and to her beloved birdhouses. Norah is determined to unravel the mystery.
Peggy Dymond Leavey's well-crafted mystery is her sixth for young readers. Her strength lies in developing characters that are multi-layered, yet endearing to the reader. This brief story plays on the reader's emotions. Its conclusion brings empathy for a cantankerous old woman who is quite endearing, after all.
Carole Marion is a Public Service Librarian with Calgary Public Library's Shawnessy Branch. She has been working with youth and their caregivers for over sixteen years.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.