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Pieces of the Picture

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Emily is a girl, isolated from everyone, whose father has recently died. The family has been forced to move from Chicago to a country town ``at the end of nowhere,'' and Emily's mother is totally involved with her new responsibilities running an inn. Without friends of her own, Emily becomes fascinated with the lives of other people and carefully records her impressions in a notebook. Although she is quick to sum up most guests at the inn, Emily has more trouble understanding her mother, a woman ``born to live a life of dullness and work.'' The discovery of some old trunks offer Emily insights to the past, not only about her mother, but about herself. While tending a Canada goose that has been left behind by the rest of the flock, Emily remembers how she too was abandoned after her father's accident. When she frees the goose, she simultaneously expels her own deep-rooted anger. While most of the characters in the novel (especially the guests at the inn) are predictable--if not stereotyped--the character of Emily is more complex. Her humor, sensitivity and desire to understand her world by putting together ``pieces of the picture,'' add depth to the novel. Ages 10-12. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-- Emily is a lonesome and dissatisfied 12 year old. Her widowed mother, overburdened and preoccupied with trying to run her childhood home in Wisconsin as an inn, both pampers and ignores her. Emily retaliates by spending her time snooping on guests and sneaking to the attic to investigate forsaken family mementoes. Her only solace is Bruno, a young Canada goose that she rescues and is trying to keep as a pet. To him she tells her troubles and releases the pent-up anger she has felt over her father's accidental death. When she sadly determines to set Bruno free, Mother offers some overdue maternal affection and Emily responds with warmth. Voila, reconciliation from their harsh estrangement is accomplished. Joosse's plot is well designed but the characters never really come alive to engage readers. The picture remains in pieces, a puzzle not satisfactorily completed. However, the simple writing style and realistic theme may attract slow readers. --Katharine Bruner, Brown Middle School, Harrison, Tenn.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064403108
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/1/1991
  • Series: A Trophy Bk.
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years

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