Living with her father in an opal mining town in the Australian outback, a young girl finds a large opal in her underground house and with it makes her wish for a real home come true. Full color.
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What would it be like to live in an underground house? Surrounded by the most beautiful gems in the world? Jean knows; she lives in Coober Pedy, an underground mining town in the Australian Outback, where her father mines for opals--gift stones. But as extraordinary as her life is, she yearns for what most children already have--a real home and the opportunity to go to a real school. So when Jean discovers a beautiful opal hidden in the wall of her aunt's underground house, everything changes. Her family helps Jean turn it into schoolbooks, clothes, and even a spare bed in her grandparents' home in Adelaide. In this modern-day fairy tale, Jean learns that sometimes wishes can come true, especially the more they mean to you.From Publishers Weekly:
In this sentimental tale, an opal miner's daughter finds a precious gem that grants her wish. "This town is dust and rock and digging machines and sky. Come, I'll show you where we live... underground," narrator Jean begins. In the Australian mining town of Coober Pedy, Jean and her father do indeed live beneath the earth in a dark, rock-lined dwelling, a dimly lit life subtly underscored by the book's brown pages. From this earth-colored backdrop emerge Garns's (Gonna Sing My Head Off!) soft pastel images of life above ground, where Jean sifts through rock piles for shiny bits of opal that the miners have missed. Staring into one such shard, she sees "colors you don't see anywhere else in Coober Pedy. It's like all the bright green and purple and red that we ought to have out here got trapped inside rock." She connects these colors to those outside the window at her grandparents' snug home in nearby Adelaide and wishes they could afford to board her there. Jean's dream is realized after she discovers an opal imbedded in the wall of her aunt's underground house (they are miners, too). While Eversole (Flood Fish) builds some interesting details about this unorthodox lifestyle, she doesn't develop the relationships among the characters. Because readers see little of Jean's interaction with her grandparents, they may well question how she could so easily leave her father behind, even considering her dreary surroundings. Garns's pastels capably portray the narrator but they, too, rarely show Jean interacting with others. In the end, Jean seems as isolated above ground as she did beneath it. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0679886842
Book Description Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110679886842
Book Description Knopf Books for Young Readers. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0679886842 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1192840