The Quilt

( 2 )

Overview

1944. Wartime.

A six-year-old boy goes to spend the summer with his grandmother Alida in a small town near the Canadian border. With the men all gone off to fight, the women are left to run the farms. There’s plenty for the boy to do—trying to help with the chores, getting to know the dog, and the horses, cows, pigs, and chickens.

But when his cousin Kristina goes into labor, he can’t do a thing. Instead, the house fills with women come to help...

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The Quilt

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Overview

1944. Wartime.

A six-year-old boy goes to spend the summer with his grandmother Alida in a small town near the Canadian border. With the men all gone off to fight, the women are left to run the farms. There’s plenty for the boy to do—trying to help with the chores, getting to know the dog, and the horses, cows, pigs, and chickens.

But when his cousin Kristina goes into labor, he can’t do a thing. Instead, the house fills with women come to help and to wait, and to work on a quilt together. This is no common, everyday quilt, but one that contains all the stories of the boy’s family. The quilt tells the truth, past and future: of happiness, courage, and pain; of the greatest joy, and the greatest loss. And as they wait, the women share these memorable stories with the boy.

During World War II, while his father is in Europe fighting and his mother is working in Chicago, a five-year-old boy goes to live with his grandmother in a rural Norwegian American community in Minnesota. Based on events from the author's life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A follow-up to Alida's Song, The Quilt by Gary Paulsen relates the boy's experiences at age six, spending time at his grandmother's Minnesota farm in the summer of 1944. Here, they, along with the other women whose husbands are off fighting, help a neighbor who is ready to give birth. In this moving sequel, the boy learns about life, death and the quilt that is a pictorial record of his familial ancestry. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Third in his series of books paying tribute to his grandmother, this book follows The Cookcamp and Alida's Song. It tells the story of the comfort and memories woven into a quilt by the women who hold down the fort when the men go off to war. The main character, a 6-year-old boy, watches the women, interested in their actions, often confused by them, and ultimately learning of their love and strength symbolized in the quilt. A worthwhile story to be told, it is better intended for adult audiences. The slow pace and reminiscent tone gives it the feel of a memoir, which it partially is. The boy is not so much a main character as an observer. The book is an interesting historical piece on how women helped each other in small communities and took on all the tasks of life while they were on their own, supporting one another through the pain of birth to the pain of death. 2004, Yearling/Random House, Ages 12 up.
—Kathryn Erskine
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-In this semi-autobiographical novella, Paulsen again writes lovingly about the grandmother who provided such warmth and comfort in his difficult young life during and after World War II. The protagonist, first met in The Cookcamp (Orchard, 1991) and later in Alida's Song (Delacorte, 1999) is still "the boy," an impersonal term that keeps readers at a distance. It is hard to feel empathy with an anonymous child who is described with adult sensibilities, even though some of the scenes are powerfully written. Especially evocative is the description of the boy and his grandmother's stay with a pregnant cousin who delivers a son and then learns that her husband has been killed in action. However, when the six-year-old questions his grandmother about the men his mother brings back to their apartment and whether they have anything to do with the war, the observation seems forced. Also, the pacing is slow and deliberate. The quilt of the title is how he learns about his heritage and his extended family. However, it is mentioned at the end of the first chapter and not addressed again until nearly 50 pages later. This story works best as an adult reflection and does not have much appeal or relevancy to younger readers.-Edith Ching, St. Albans School, Mt. St. Alban, Washington, DC Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In 1944, with his father at war and his mother working the night shift at the munitions factory, the narrator-"the boy"-goes to live with his grandmother Alida in northern Minnesota. At a neighboring farm, seven miles and seven hours away, Alida and several local women have gathered for the birth of Kristina's baby. They share a ritual of holding a quilt and telling "quilt stories" about their lives and those who have passed. It's a quiet, beautiful tale of magic in the faces and hands of the women holding the cloth. So much of life, death, and the strength of women is told in evocative prose rich in vivid details. Begun in The Cookcamp (1991) and continued in Alida's Song (1999), this is Paulsen's ode to his grandmother and what women "had to do to keep life, and families, together during the war." A story to savor and share and Paulsen at his best. (Fiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440229360
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/11/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 428,474
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1160L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 7.67 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Three-time Newbery-winning author Gary Paulsen, hailed as "one of the best-loved writers alive" by the New York Times, divides his time between his ranch in New Mexico, a sailboat on the Pacific Ocean, and his dog-kennel in Alaska. He's written over 200 books for young people, stories that have been embraced by readers of all ages.
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Customer Reviews

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