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Carter, Dorothy Bye, Mis' Lela ISBN 13: 9780374310134

Bye, Mis' Lela - Hardcover

 
9780374310134: Bye, Mis' Lela
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Sugar Plum, an African American preschooler, must come to terms with the death of her elderly babysitter.

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From Publishers Weekly:
In this gentle but not altogether childlike picture book, an African American girl comes to terms with the death of her elderly caregiver. Sugar Plum fondly recalls how, when her mother went off to work, she played with the chickens and geese in the yard as Mis' Lela hung the piles of laundry on the line. She remembers how Mis' Lela bathed her in a washtub and fed her ginger cake. And then she remembers Mis' Lela's death. Attending Mis' Lela's wake, she saw her friend lying on her bed, dressed in her "Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes," and realized they'd never play together again. Carter (Br'er Rabbit Meets His Match) tackles a difficult topic with a predominantly poignant voice and memorable characterizations. She clearly evokes a bygone era, a time when it was not uncommon for women to take in laundry and for a tinker to call door-to-door. However, Mis' Lela's passing breaks the tender mood Carter has established so well. This emotional shift may prove jarring for young readers, whom Carter fails to consider in her abrupt, vague descriptions of death and grief, and for whom the implicit message, that time heals, will be hard to accept. Stevenson's (The Tangerine Tree) oils feature a summery palette of greens, blues, yellows and pinks, suggesting sunny days spent outdoors. His portraits of a kind-faced Mis' Lela holding Sugar on her lap radiate warmth and love. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews:
This hushed book about life and death, arrivals and departures, and hellos and good-byes, is so reflective and subdued it feels as if it should be read aloud in a whisper. Sugar Plum, an African-American preschooler, has a hard time when her mom, who works, drops her off at Mis' Lela's, but Mis' Lela is an old soul and knows how to console a youngster. Soon Sugar Plum is enjoying herself, sharing with Mis' Lela the small incidents of her day. She is droll at the arrival of Mr. Tinker Man: ``He's gonna mend one hole and punch two, making more leaks in my tin tubs,'' and understated about a visit from Mis' Bible Lady``My, that woman can talk.'' Then, when Mis' Lela dies, Sugar Plum must contend with griefemotions that are limned in childlike and immediate terms. Stevenson's soft-edged illustrations heighten the dreamy quality of the text, so much so that it seems only natural that Sugar Plum, old enough to head to school, says a quiet hello when she walks past Mis' Lela's old house, and that a familiar ``Study your lessons, Sugar Plum, and mind your manners'' seems to come floating sweetly back from the ether. (Picture book. 5-9) -- Copyright 1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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