Aunt Mary's Rose

CD. 12:10 min. with hardcover book. Spoken Arts. 2011. ISBN 0-8045-4233-3. $29.95.
K-Gr 3—This tender memoir (Candlewick, 2010) from Douglas Wood's childhood, woven around his aunt's hardy rosebush, harkens back to a simpler time on the family farm. The story of Wood's family history emerges through three generations, all focused on caring for the struggling rosebush. "It's had a bit of a hard life, Mary, and it needs someone to look after it," states Mary's father. He promises her that if she takes care of it, "a little bit of you begins to grow inside of it, and a little bit of it grows inside of you." As Mary matures and helps to care for her orphaned cousins who arrive unexpectedly to live at the farm, the same thing happens to them. The story is read with feeling by Sam S. Arkin, complete with treble voice cracks. Pamela Newkirk-Arkin's rich timbre voices Aunt Mary with warmth and humor, and gentle background music floats throughout. Sepia-toned artwork by LeUyen Pham depicts memories of poignant and funny times, the Depression, and World War II. While retro in feel and design, the concept of families taking care of each other is relevant and important to children today. Page-turn signals are optional. An ideal choice for listening centers.—Lonna Pierce, MacArthur Elementary School, Binghamton, NY

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