Miss Bridie Chose a Shovel

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9780618305643: Miss Bridie Chose a Shovel

The journey begins for a young immigrant named Miss Bridie. It is a journey of hope and uncertainty, a journey that will take her to a new land, a new home, and—if she has chosen wisely—a good life.
With elegant woodcuts, Caldecott medalist Mary Azarian brings to life Leslie Connor’s spare story of a life rich with blessings, yet not without challenges. Here is a lyrical tribute to the millions of immigrants who left their homes to begin anew in America—and an enchanting look at how one woman carves out a life with the help of a common shovel.

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About the Author:

Caldecott Medalist Mary Azarian is a consummate gardener and a skilled and original woodblock artist. Many of her prints are heavily influenced by her love of gardening, and her turn-of-the-century farmhouse is surrounded by gardens that reveal an artist's vision. Mary Azarian received the 1999 Caldecott Medal for SNOWFLAKE BENTLEY, written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. She lives, skis, and gardens in Vermont.

From Booklist:

Gr. 1-4. When Miss Bridie left her thatched cottage in Ireland in 1856, she could have taken a chiming clock or a porcelain figurine. Instead, she takes a shovel, which serves her in good stead throughout her life. She uses it to steady herself on the ship to a new place, to dig a garden, and to clear a snowy path to a moonlit frozen river, where she meets the young man she will marry. The staid text has no frills, mimicking Miss Bridie's plain life. As she uses her shovel to plant apple trees on her farm, bank the land during a flood, and, when she is old, bury her husband, children will see that Miss Birdie takes life as it is offered, with an equanimity that faces down adversity and holds close moments of joy. Not every child will be taken with a story that follows the life of a young woman as she grows old. Yet the care and crafting evident here must be admired. Caldecott award-winner Azarian's sturdy woodcuts are an excellent choice to illustrate daily life in mid-nineteenth-century America, and her pictures catch some of the emotions that the text shies away from: the small smile of contentment that comes from working on the farm; the sorrow when a fire burns down everything Miss Bridie has worked for. This is a simple pleasure that will be truly appreciated by those old enough to understand the message. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Leslie Connor
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