CM . . . .
Volume VII Number 4 . . . . October 20, 2000
"The shadows of the bare branches reached through the window and played like fingers in Poppa's white curls."Marie's grandfather is growing too old to stay in his rustic cedar cabin by the lake. All her life, Marie has been visiting Poppa and watching him carve his beautiful decoys. She is going to miss him terribly when he "goes south." In this heart-warming story by Ontario author Anne Carter, Marie tries to convince Poppa to stay as she remembers the things they have done together for years - skating, ice-fishing and piling wood. Marie is now old enough to start creating the decoys herself, and Poppa takes her into his workroom to help him complete a very special duck that he has made just for her.
Images come to life through the rich language which gently complements the detailed illustrations of Kasia Charko. The warmth of the cabin is felt in the browns of the wood interior, and the reader can feel the cold of the winter wind blowing as Marie runs to the lake. A large two-page illustration looking down on the wood ducks flying was the only disappointment in the book as the ducks appear lifeless and flat. All the other illustrations have depth and motion. Through the story, the reader learns that the mallards and the pintails have already left as the snow is about to fall. The wood ducks, however, are the last to go.
From Poppa is a book with excellent curriculum ties in the areas of migration, seasons and family, and its contents could lead to discussions on aging and separation. Carter ends the story with a wonderful reminder that, even though something may disappear, the memory will always be there. Readers will love the implied fantasy of the wooden duck's coming to life and the colourful painting that Marie did to complete the work on her grandfather's gift.
Susan Fonseca is a teacher-librarian at Glenwood School in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association.
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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.