Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Many Hands

Picture Book
What do you think of when you imagine a basket? An upscale
offering of a preppy company, maybe filled with pricey goodies? A
plastic container for Easter egg hunt loot? A hamper like holder for
picnic food? Chances are you think of something generic and mass
Far more lovely baskets are crafted by Native Americans such as
Maine's Penobscots. Natural materials are utilized. The craft is
passed down through generations. Even the most simple and functional
and simple basket is a true work of art. My friend, Angeli Perrow,
has crafted a beautiful tale about this communal, non industrial
The book opens as a young girl, Lily, seeing a dragonfly on her
hand and remembering its symbolism as the spirit of departed loved
ones, finds herself missing her beloved grandmother. She remembers a
special story they shared while weaving baskets. Not surprisingly,
she dreams about her grandmother creating a lovely basket with a pink
When she wakes up Lily remembers the dream vividly enough to
recreate the basket. She thinks it's the most beautiful one she's
ever made. She is very disappointed when her mother, cousins, and
uncle only say, "Very nice," and remind her that, "Many hands make the
Lily goes to the pond and watches dragonflies. One lands on her
basket. She realizes what her family had been trying to tell her.
Although she was the one who made the basket, they had put a lot of
work into preparing the materials. She thanks them and creates a
dragonfly to place on her basket.
Heather Austin's illustrations, water color I believe, perfectly
compliment the text. A beautifully crafted dragonfly practically
flies off the page. Lily's brown eyes shine with excitement. But my
two favorite pictures are the hands ones. In the dream sequence
Lily's grandmother hands her a water lily transformed into a basket.
At the end you see a circle of the hands of her family members
touching her very soecial basket in a stunning visual representation
of the book's theme.
On a personal note: I loved Adam's February vacation and Katie's
birthday. When it comes to kids I've been blessed.
A great big shout out goes out to my dynamic dragonfly lady, Rose
Thompson. Rose juggles family, work, and school board and makes it
all look manageable. She helps me keep things in perspective. When I
thought the washing machine (which we can't afford to replace) was
broken, she had me laughing with her descriptions of old style wringer
machines and scrubbing clothes on the river bank. She is also very
good at motivating me. Some day when I become a published book author
I'll owe a debt of gratitude to this very classy but down to earth lady.
Julia Emily Hathaway

Sent from my iPod

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