FICTION

Old Pearl

Atheneum/S. & S./. Jun. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534462694.
COPY ISBN
K-Gr 2–Theo feeds the birds regularly, giving special attention to the one with a raggedy wing. Naming her Pearl after his grandmother, he protects the bird, both to allow it to eat and to keep it safe from other animals. Theo realizes he considers the bird his own, and Grandma Pearl helps him create a new home for the creature—a place to play, a place to sleep, a place to share their “apples with peanut butter.” Theo wakes one morning and little Pearl does not. As Theo’s memories of Pearl turn “from tears to smiles,” he is able to say goodbye. Digital collage scenes in charcoal pencil and watercolor reveal Theo and his grandma, who are Black, when they are at home, in the park, or in the car while he learns to understand the needs of a new family member.
VERDICT With a note on how to approach injured animals and animal care referencing information from the Audubon Society and the Humane Society, this recommended general purchase recognizes the social emotional learning present in young readers’ growing awareness of animal needs in the wild and also the necessary time for all children to take in recovery for the loss of pets or loved ones.

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