A girl and her family find an abandoned baby in their driveway.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyPW described this story of a family that takes in an abandoned baby as ``lean and lyrical,'' adding that the Newbery Medalist ``gracefully entwines past and present.'' All ages. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Susie WildeThe family cannot talk about how the baby in their family has died. One day a stranger leaves a baby named Sophie with them and promises to come back. They all love Sophie and while she grows up with them, they begin to talk about the baby they lost. A year of bittersweet healing follows where, as Sophie grows in babyhood, the family grows in understanding and communicating. All the characters are interesting, and the story is sad and happy at the same time.
School Library JournalGr 5-8-Baby refers to two characters in this beautifully written and moving novel-12-year-old Larkin's infant brother (who has died before the story begins) and Sophie, who is literally left in a basket in the driveway at Larkin's house. The girl's parents and Byrd, her grandmother, have been hiding their grief over their baby's death behind a wall of silence. Letting themselves love Sophie, even though they know her mother will eventually come back for her, helps them break through the barrier. When Sophie's mother does return, they are ready to mourn for the dead infant -and to give him a name. The final chapter, which takes place 10 years later, shows Sophie returning to the island for Byrd's funeral. A sense of peace and completion mark this occasion. With simple elegance, MacLachlan relates her tale about memory, love, loss, risk, and (most of all) about the power of language. Especially impressive is her ability to invest the simplest human actions and physical events with emotion and love. While the plot could never be called surefire in its appeal, and some of the happenings strain believability, the story is one that is deeply felt.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Hazel RochmanTwelve-year-old Larkin and her family find a baby sitting in a basket, abandoned at their door. A note (as beautiful as the letter in MacLachlan's "Sarah, Plain and Tall", 1985) says simply: "This is Sophie. She is almost a year old and she is good. . . . I will come back for her one day. I love her." Larkin and her mother, father, and grandmother care for the baby. They always know that Sophie will leave one day, but they can't stop themselves from loving her. As the seasons change over a year in their island community, the baby releases the unspoken sadness that has been keeping Larkin's family apart: a baby boy born six months before had lived only one day, and no one can talk about it. At first the plot seems contrived, Larkin's narrative voice self-conscious, the characters idealized, and the healing almost co-dependency therapy. No one has a mean thought, ever. But the spare lyricism of MacLachlan's writing and the physical immediacy of daily life with this very real baby will move the most hardened cynic, especially when Sophie begins to talk sentences. Her words are as absurd and loving as those of the island people, as elemental as the wind and rock. Sophie's mother finally comes back for the baby, and she's told: "Everyone here has rocked her and read to her and wiped her tears and sung to her. Lalo taught her how to blow a kiss, and sometimes she slept with Larkin. She painted with Lily, and she danced with John." The story is also about the silence between words, and in the parting scene, when Papa "stared at Sophie as if he were trying to memorize her," MacLachlan makes love and grief one circle.
- Random House Childrens Books
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.50(d)
- Age Range:
- 9 - 12 Years
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