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Miss Opal's Auction
     

Miss Opal's Auction

by Susan Vizurraga, Mark Graham (Illustrator)
 

A touching story about friendship and the preservation of memory.

"I bet it was sad for Miss Opal to watch her belongings leaving in the hands of neighbors and strangers, but I knew the auction was Miss Opal's own idea.

A rusty blue scooter that pulls to the right; a box of old cookie tins; a hand-cranked ice-cream churn ... At Miss Opal's auction,

Overview

A touching story about friendship and the preservation of memory.

"I bet it was sad for Miss Opal to watch her belongings leaving in the hands of neighbors and strangers, but I knew the auction was Miss Opal's own idea.

A rusty blue scooter that pulls to the right; a box of old cookie tins; a hand-cranked ice-cream churn ... At Miss Opal's auction, a young child sadly watches as her neighbor's belongings are sold off — one by one— and taken away in the hands of strangers."

This tender story explores a special relationship between a little girl and an older woman, and the different feelings associated with having to say good-bye. In thoughtful words and beautiful oil paintings, Miss Opal's Auction celebrates friendship and the passing of memories from one generation to the next.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As this sweetly nostalgic picture book opens, Miss Opal's things are being auctioned off in preparation for her move to a retirement community. Young Annie watches as one by one the auctioneer holds up items that trigger fond memories of time she spent with her elderly neighbor. An ice-cream churn reminds her of a summer day when the two took turns cranking up a cool confection; old cookie tins prompt thoughts of the Christmas baking they did together. Their activities coupled with Graham's (The Dream Jar) oil paintings of porcelain pitchers, wooden hutches and teddy bears underscore a feeling of timelessness. Miss Opal is sanguine about leaving (" `I'm choosing a place now,' she said, `while I've still got sense enough to choose it myself' "), but Annie is not. And when she sees Miss Opal's cookbook on the auction block, she retreats under a magnolia tree: "Her recipes were gone, and soon she would be, too." In a denouement that implies the importance of tradition, Miss Opal buys back the cookbook and presents it to Annie. Vizurraga's (Our Old House) measured prose and Graham's soft brush strokes of a lush summer day create a leisurely portrait of an affectionate intergenerational bond. Ages 4-8. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-As an auctioneer sells Miss Opal's possessions prior to her moving to a retirement apartment, a little white girl recalls the times she has shared with the elderly black woman. Annie has over time helped in the garden, learned to make ice cream and bake cookies, and listened to Miss Opal's stories. As the woman sits on the porch and chats with her friends, her annotated cookbook is sold to an antique dealer. Suddenly sad, Annie runs under a tree where Miss Opal finds her, having bought back the old cookbook to give to her. While it's not clear whether the child will ever see Miss Opal again, Annie and her mother continue to use the recipes that remind them of her. Graham's boldly textured and pleasing oil paintings suggest an integrated rural farm community. Some readers may question Annie's age as she sometimes appears to be older in the scenes in which she reminisces than she is in the present. A bittersweet celebration of intergenerational friendship and life's passages.-Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805058918
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
11/28/2000
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.36(w) x 11.42(h) x 0.33(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Susan Vizurraga once attended an auction at which an older woman was selling off her things before moving to a retirement home. She remembers that it seemed like a happy time, a change in life's stages rather than an ending. Susan is the author of Our Old House, which was named a Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies. She lives in Commerce, Georgia, with her family.

Mark Graham is the illustrator of many children's books, including The Dream Jar and Baby Talk. He is currently part of a select group of American artists whose work is exhibited in the new museum of modern art in Rome. Mark lives on a hilltop on Long Island with his family and many animal friends.

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