CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 6. . . .October 9, 2015
With a perfectly timed re-release for mid-summer, the reprint of Julie Lawson’s classic book, A Morning to Polish and Keep, is bound to delight a whole new generation of readers. The story of a family off to fish one morning on the west coast focuses on young Amy who is enjoying her “first time up before dawn” and anticipating her first big catch. She’s caught up in the thrill of the moment when the unexpected sighting of orcas causes her to lose her prize, along with her rod, and threatens to spoil the outing. Her disappointment vanishes, though, when her brother reels in the same fish, along with — surprise — the lost rod. Even though it is the end of summer vacation, Amy has the perfect memory to polish and keep.
This story is so well structured it takes hold of readers right from the title page where someone in the family cabin calls out, “AMY, TIME TO GET UP!” Readers are led down the marshy path, across the wooden bridge and the beach to the wharf as the images pile up: still-star sky, beach littered with crunchy pebbles, barnacles and broken shells, clambering aboard the boat to negotiate the river passage to the sea. At the fishing spot, readers get to watch the baiting of hooks and then must wait for the fish to take notice. There’s just the right amount of tension building though these scenes with long narrative sentences — except for the dramatic moment of sunrise — creating a dreamy mood with plenty of sensory detail. The instant there’s a bite, though, excitement shows in the short, snappy dialogue. Energy reaches a peak when the fish is lost, and the tone shifts to gloom. But lulled by the warm, bright day, readers are ready to jump back to attention with Amy at the second catch. The power of that scene carries readers to the surprise finish, and Amy’s decision to let her brother reel in the fish that was originally hers. The day quickly winds down, but its memories will never fade.
Gillian Richardson is a freelance writer living in BC.
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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.
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.