Valerie and the Silver Pear

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-- The warm, caring relationship between Valerie and her widowed grandfather is at the heart of this wonderful story. One day when she bikes over to Grandpa's house, they notice that the pears on the tree in his yard are ripe. He tells her that in past years the tree produced one silver pear, which her grandmother liked to give away. Valerie is eager to pick all the fruit in case she should be the lucky finder. But what would they do with all the pears? They remember Grandma's recipe book and decide to make pies (recipe included). They find no silver pear, but Grandpa gives Valerie her grandmother's silver bracelet with a tiny pear hanging from it. Lane's watercolor illustrations overlayed with crayon are full of detail. Their cozy depiction of Grandpa's house happily awash with pictures and mementos of a life richly lived perfectly suits this rich, quiet story of an intergenerational relationship that all children deserve. --Susan Hepler, Alexandria City Public Schools, VA
Ilene Cooper
Valerie likes to visit her grandfather in the house he had shared with her grandmother. There, the fruit trees her grandmother had loved grow in the back yard. One lunchtime, as Valerie and her grandfather sit munching sandwiches on the stairs and looking at the trees, he tells her about a single silver pear that grows on the pear tree most years. "Just under the skin it's solid silver--very beautiful." An excited Valerie, of course, wants to look for the silver pear. They don't find it, but as they shop for the ingredients to make pies from Grandmother's recipe, and through trial and error shape and bake them, Granddaughter and Grandfather find something much more important. Here's a story that could have gotten as mushy as overripe fruit, but in the hands of this author and illustrator, it is a small gem, just like the silver pear charm that Valerie receives from her grandfather. Despite the book's premise, there is a notable lack of sentimentality here: Grandmother's death is only alluded to, and the preparations for pie baking (including calling the library to ask for recipe clarification) root this firmly in the practical. Enhancing that sensibility are Lane's watercolor pictures, which have a photographic quality (as though shot through a soft focus lens). In words and art, Valerie understands how the baking of pies can be as magical as finding a silver pear. She suggests that perhaps this year it's not a silver pear, but a silver apple. Maybe they'll find it while they're trying out Grandmother's recipe for apple butter.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780027261004
  • Publisher: Little Simon
  • Publication date: 9/30/1992
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.33 (w) x 10.35 (h) x 0.38 (d)

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