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When a peach tree grow up from a crack in the cement in her urban back lot, Augusta and her pet cat, Trab, venture through a magical door in its trunk and embark on an unforgettable adventure.
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Grade 4-6-Meeting characters similar to those found in Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and Dr. Dolittle, a girl and her cat go on a wild trip filled with adventure. Since her mother's death last year, 10-year-old Augusta has felt an emptiness inside her. Her busy father doesn't have enough time for her, so a stray cat she adopted has become her constant companion. He can talk, and is very wise. Both girl and cat have strong wishes-hers is to receive a commission in the Queen's Royal Navy and see the world; his is to live in a jungle and give advice to the animals. When Augusta finds a key that fits a door in a magic peach tree, they enter a realm where their dreams are fulfilled. Augusta learns much about herself, but she still misses her mother. Then, an amazing woman shows her how the pain of loss can be muted by recalling favorite memories. Finally, the girl is ready to go home to her father. The tale is told in a gentle, almost poetic style that is often fanciful but never sentimental. The story affirms the continuity of life, showing the strength of memory and the perpetual renewal of the natural world. Mild humor throughout offsets the serious theme.
Virginia Golodetz, St. Michael's College, Winooski,
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 3-6. Augusta is 10 when she and her cat, Trab, find a key tied to a yarrow root that unlocks a door in a peach tree, leading to wonderful adventures that include a voyage on a beautiful ship, a kindly whale, a helpful scallop, and a fearful lion, tiger, and panther, as well as Hildamore, an old woman who helps people who have forgotten who they are. De Vinck has a marvelous gift for language: "Until then I had never heard my own heartbeat. Now it felt like an ache, as if something was breaking inside me . . . I had never felt so much the pain of being in the middle of things, except maybe on the day my mother died." Augusta narrates a story of discovery, adventure, and, finally, healing. "And then I knew who I was all over again, and where I belonged, and that my mother, like the dried flowers, still had, and would always have, the power to make the air around me smell sweet." This is a reassuring book to share with a child who has suffered a loss or a good read-aloud for a classroom of children who may not realize that gentleness and kindness are virtues. Sheilamae O'Hara
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Book Description Simon & Schuster, 1993. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0027299457