The Promise Basket

Groundwood. Aug. 2019. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781773060897.
K-Gr 3–Parental love is a precious gift, especially when life becomes challenging. A mother and her baby daughter live in a very small room that they share with a very small mouse. As the little girl’s first birthday approaches, her mother is determined to give her a special gift despite their poverty. She discovers a beautiful stone on the beach, a basket that has been discarded, paper, and ribbon, and constructs a gift for her baby that includes a poetic promise. On every gifting occasion after that, the little girl finds a beautiful stone and another poem until she herself continues the tradition with her own daughter. A story about the resilience that a single mother can have, this book encapsulates what is truly important in a human life: love. Stylized illustrations created with watercolor, graphite, colored pencil, and gouache showcase the emotions felt by each character in a manner reminiscent of Picasso. The mother repeats a four line poem in each gift she gives her daughter, changing the final two lines while keeping the first two lines the same. Though a medium length story, the repetition and intermittent poetry paired with illustrations that dominate the page make this book accessible to a wide range of ages.
VERDICT A lovely message of ongoing love even and especially in the face of difficult experiences

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