|What is given from the heart|
Author: McKissack, Pat
Despite their own poverty since Daddy died, Mama tells nine-year-old James Otis they need to help Sarah, seven, whose family lost everything in a fire.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.60
Points: .5 Quiz: 500522
School Library Journal (+) (02/01/19)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/12/18)
The Hornbook (00/01/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 11/01/2018 In the months following the death of his father, life is hard for young James Otis and Mama. Still, when Reverend Dennis requests donations for a family that has lost everything to fire, Mama is the first to respond, sewing an apron from her best tablecloth. James Otis has a harder time deciding what to give, but finally settles on an illustrated book of his own creation. This posthumous offering from award winner McKissack (Who Will Bell the Cat?, 2018) recounts a heartfelt story demonstrating that joyful giving can have many rewards. Harrison's mixed-media and collage artwork portrays a close-knit, African American community, where fancy possessions are in short supply, but love and caring abound. Using folk-style illustrations and favoring earth tones, Harrison utilizes mottled backgrounds and colorfully collaged pieces to depict the characters' clothing. The faces are particularly expressive, conveying a full range of emotions. Appropriate for one-on-one sharing and story hours alike, this is a moving story that attests to life's most important values. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2019 K-Gr 3—Although he and his mama are poor, James Otis struggles to find something he can give the Temple family, who have lost everything in a fire. After his daddy dies suddenly, the boy and his mom lose their farm and move into a "run-down shotgun house." A flood further adds to their misery. Yet when Reverend Dennis announces the congregation will deliver "love boxes" to needy families for Valentine's Day, the boy and his mother decide to provide gifts for the Temples. "Stitchin' with a loving heart," mama turns her one treasure, a tablecloth, into an apron for Mrs. Temple. Considering several of his possessions unsuitable, James Otis finally decides to make a book for Sarah Temple. The delighted Temples receive their box with the congregation looking on. Their hearts filled with joy at having given to others, James Otis and mama return home to discover a love box has been delivered to them. Textured backgrounds that bleed to the edges and often include spreads form the backdrop for the folk-art illustrations rendered in mixed media and found objects. All the figures are elongated, and the brightest colors appear in a striking scene of the close-knit African American community walking to church dressed in their Sunday best. There are depictions of the modest neighborhood and touching close-ups of the boy and his mom in loving embrace and Sarah clutching her treasured book to her chest. VERDICT This story of the joy of giving despite one's own needs is a must-have for group discussions of empathy. A treasure from a marvelous storyteller.—Marianne Saccardi, Children's Literature Consultant, Cambridge, MA - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.