Aunt Mary's Rose

Overview

A best-selling author and illustrator team up to cultivate a heartwarming, true story of a family linked through time by the tending of a beloved rosebush.

Aunt Mary has a very special rosebush in her garden. She says a little bit of Douglas can be found inside it. And she tells him how the rosebush has a little bit of Douglas’s daddy in it as well. And a little bit of his daddy’s daddy. And, of course, a little bit of Aunt Mary. Douglas Wood’s tender memoir is complemented by ...

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Overview

A best-selling author and illustrator team up to cultivate a heartwarming, true story of a family linked through time by the tending of a beloved rosebush.

Aunt Mary has a very special rosebush in her garden. She says a little bit of Douglas can be found inside it. And she tells him how the rosebush has a little bit of Douglas’s daddy in it as well. And a little bit of his daddy’s daddy. And, of course, a little bit of Aunt Mary. Douglas Wood’s tender memoir is complemented by LeUyen Pham’s charming and engaging illustrations. Together they show how caring for a treasured rosebush provides a connection between generations, and an enduring expression of attentiveness and familial love.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"My Aunt Mary’s rose, an old-fashioned rugosa shrub, has survived for a long time now. In the years since my childhood, our own boys have helped to care for it — and through its beauty, hardiness, and living memories, it still helps to care for us." — Douglas Wood — Quote
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
Young Douglas wonders and puzzles over what Aunt Mary meant when she told him that by caring for the rosebush, he would find a part of himself in it and a part of the rose inside of himself. Taking what Aunt Mary said literally, Douglas carefully inspects the plant and reports back to Aunt Mary that he still cannot see himself in the rosebush. Aunt Mary tells Douglas the story and history about the rosebush that is in her garden. She reflects back to when she was a little girl living on a farm and when her father asked her to care for the plant. She reveals how he told her how she would grow in the rosebush by helping it to grow and how the beauty of the rose will grow in her. Aunt Mary continues with the story about how Douglas' father and brother (Aunt Mary's nephews) came to live with her and her parents. There are many parallels to discuss further in this story that is about family, love, and tradition. The watercolor illustrations work to support the story. The sepia tones of the illustrations set the mood of recalling memories of the past. The end pages feature the rosebush, a symbol in this story. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Wood offers a slice of family history that exemplifies the intertwining of generations through tradition. On a visit to his great-aunt Mary's house, young Douglas is given the task of watering a large rosebush that was originally planted by his great-great grandfather and tended by four generations before him. Aunt Mary tells how her young nephews—Douglas's dad and uncle—came to live on their grandparents' farm ("Something had happened, and they needed a place to live…that's what families do. They take care of each other. They love each other."). She recalls some of the boys' shenanigans, their enlistment in the service during World War II, his uncle's death in the war, and his parents' marriage. Pham's soft watercolor paintings feature sepia-toned "photos" of the family during the 1930s and '40s, and color paintings of young Douglas, Aunt Mary, and his parents circa the 1950s. Except for the rosebush, the story is somewhat similar to that of countless families of the pre-boomer generation, and it provides a brief introduction to rural farm life during that era.—Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews
A nostalgic trip through one family's history centers around a hardy rose bush and Douglas, the little boy who is learning to care for it. Aunt Mary says the rose bush in her backyard has been in her family since before she was born. She cared for it just as her father asked her to, even uprooting and replanting it when the Depression forced them to move. Told through the sure, even voice of Aunt Mary, who raised her nephews Dick and Jim, Douglas's father ("That's what families do. They take care of each other"), Wood's tender memoir paints a picture of one family through the generations. Pham's sepia-toned colored watercolors, often painted to look like old-time photographs, extend the nostalgic feel and burst into full color when the story reaches Douglas's childhood in what appears to be the '50s. (Botanists will note that the shrub depicted is not the rugosa mentioned in the author's jacket bio but an actual rose, likely to be more universally recognized by children.) Children will enjoy asking their grandparents about their lives after reading about Douglas's extended family. A gentle slice of the past. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763610906
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 3/23/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 730,608
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.12 (w) x 11.58 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas Wood is the author of GRANDAD'S PRAYERS OF THE EARTH, illustrated by P.J. Lynch and winner of a Christopher Medal, and MISS LITTLE'S GIFT, illustrated by Jim Burke, as well as the best-selling book OLD TURTLE. He lives in Sartelle, Minnesota.

LeUyen Pham is the author-illustrator of BIG SISTER, LITTLE SISTER and has illustrated many other books for children, including GOD'S DREAM by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams. She lives in San Francisco.

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