by Judith Roth, published 2013
“She’s white as a snowball but she’s warm, not frozen. She’s squishy and soft and sweet as a marshmallow. But she’s delicate as an orchid graceful as a ballerina miraculous as an angel. I can’t believe my luck.”
The first thing to know about this children’s book is that it is laid out as if it’s poetry. I didn’t duplicate the style in the quote. Instead, I highly recommend using a browse-inside feature to see how beautifully spacious the text is. The result of laying the book out that way is quite remarkable. While it still reads like prose, the effect is that we pause more, take in the images deeply, and have a sense of softness throughout the story. In addition, the sentences and language never get very complex, so it could be read by a younger reader.
I think it’s important to note all this, because this children’s book is deceptive. It offers a profound experience of pain in a young girl’s life, as her father has closed down since his wife (her mother) has died. We experience the longing of the young girl, and the very painful hard wall of the dad, very viscerally. However, the soft poetic form of the book allows us to take it in without melodrama or aversion.
I found this book mesmerizing. I loved the very real descriptions of the effect of the kitten on the young girl, and how she continued to work on opening her dad’s heart. Of course, the ending is terrific, and all is resolved. However, you are never really sure until the final page. This is a great new children’s book, especially suited for girls, age 11 and up. (Younger girls could read it, but because of the light romantic interest, I prefer to recommend it for older children.)