Why you'll like it: Rich Folklore. Friendship. Sophisticated look at harsh realities.
The story sparkles and shines just like this gorgeous cover. I even loved how the chapters were stylistically designed with the illustrations at the beginning and other magical tidbits sprinkled all throughout the book. I adore Jewell Parker Rhodes' works.
Her books are just perfect for middle grade audiences. The book's prose are rich, blending magical realism with relevant childhood problems. Our heroine, Maddy, learns a lot about her heritage when she spends a summer with her grandmother. ALSO. GRAND-MERE IS JUST THE BEST SOUNDING WORD. I told my mom her future grand-babies are going to call her Grand-mere. I’m going to have my friend Jenna teach them how to say it properly in French.
I can’t decide which I like more, the folklore or friendship portrayed in this novel. Maddy befriends Bear in the town of Bayou. Bear and Maddy go on adventures together, learning about the meaning of friendship. Interwoven is blend of African-American folklore and history. Harsh realities of life are explored in a sophisticated manner. The author’s notes also show how each generation can bring new hope to the next by taking care of the environment, and passing on the magic of stories.