Gabriella loves to dance, and she loves to hear her grandmother Babci’s stories--stories about Poland, the house in the coal patch, the chickens with blue feet. And especially the stories of those happy evenings long ago when Babci danced with her handsome young husband, Dziadziu. Gabriella and her grandmother are bound together by stories, by dancing, and by love in this poignant Easter story. “A wonderfully mature story, full of humanity.”--Kirkus Reviews
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Susan Campbell Bartoletti is the award-winning author of several books for young readers, including Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845–1850, winner of the Robert F. Sibert Medal. She lives in Moscow, Pennsylvania. Visit her website at www.scbartoletti.com.
Kindergarten-Grade 3. Babci ("grandmother" in Polish) lies ill in her bed but continues to tell her granddaughter about her life as a young girl. She talks of emigrating to America, of raising chickens, and, mostly, of dancing with her beloved Dziadziu, the grandfather who died before Gabriella was born. Meanwhile, Gabriella's mother prepares the traditional Easter basket, for Babci knows she won't live to see the holiday and has asked to celebrate early. The child performs her snowflake dance for her grandmother, and, inspired by the elderly woman's stories, she does it perfectly. This is a story of sweet remembrance, a simple but clear portrait of intergenerational love. Although Babci's death is imminent, this is not a maudlin tale but rather a celebration of the affectionate relationships that have shaped Gabriella's life. Nelson's brightly colored woodcuts are a perfect match for a narrative that melds the old country with the new. Those pictures that feature Babci and Gabriella have particularly well-defined textures; those showing scenes of the grandmother's past have a more painted look and are not as striking. Nevertheless, both the full-page and miniature folk-art prints convey a sense of rustic simplicity that is in keeping with the simple life of the family. While not a first purchase, this title will go well with both intergenerational units and those that promote ethnic pride. Somewhat reminiscent of Tomie dePaola's Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs (Putnam, 1973), this upbeat book could be shared when discussing the loss of a grandparent.?Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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