Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Home Place

Pinkney, Jerry (Illustrator)
Simon & Schuster 1993. 40 pages
First published: 1990
ISBN: 9780689717581 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

point of view

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

The gentle pace of the language will flow over readers, as they join a little girl hiking with her parents through the woods. The free verse revels in the details of nature: “in a row, a yellow splash,” “raccoons who rustle at night” and around the ruins of an old home they encounter, “A round blue glass marble, a nail.”

These discoveries spark images of household scenes of the family who once lived there. Bright watercolour images of the nature walk shift into muted, ghostly hues. An old man sits in his rocker, “squeaking, creaking on a porch, the bubbling hot fat in a black skillet, the chicken frying.”

Upstairs, a girl gazes in the mirror of a toiletries-strewn vanity; in the kitchen, the family gathers. The realistic illustrations show a past era of denim overalls, suspenders and long skirts. The soft tones reflect the misty echoes of memory. “Almost as gone, but not quite. Not quite.”

Both language and image honour a bygone time in black American culture. In the end, the past connects to the present, as the hiking girl finds a keepsake—a little bottle, last seen on the other girl’s vanity—to bring home.

  •  

    On a picture walk, what do you notice and wonder? Observe how some pictures take up the whole space while others are within a white frame. Discuss the possible significance of this design choice. Reflect on this question as you read.

  •  

    How does the author use rich language to bring the past to life? Select a text that paints an especially vivid mental image for you. With a partner, describe or draw your mental image. Identify any words or phrases that you especially like.

  •  Discuss connections between the artifacts the girl finds and the lives of the people she imagines having lived in the house.
  •  

    Is this story happy or sad? Explain your thinking, using examples from the text to support your opinion.

  •  

    Examine the cover and make predictions about the story.

  •  

    Look at the page where the little girl is going through some artifacts. What can be inferred about this story?

  •  

    On a picture walk, what do you notice and wonder? Observe how some pictures take up the whole space while others are within a white frame. Discuss the illustrator’s choice. As the story is read aloud, discuss how the text supports your predictions.

  •  

    Discuss how objects (artifacts) that belonged to your grandparents or great-grandparents help you know more about their lives.

  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Geography, History and Citizenship