Old Pearl –Wendy Wahman, A Caitlyn Dlouhy Book (Atheneum Books for Young Readers), (9781534462694), 2021
Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review) 3.5
Genre: Picture Book
What did you like about the book? A young boy named Theo enjoys feeding the birds at the park and notices one that is unable to fly away when a dog appears. Theo takes the bird home to his Grandma Pearl who allows him to keep it overnight before taking it to a vet in the morning. They find that the bird, named Pearl by Theo, is not injured but is just suffering from old age. Grandma Pearl allows Theo to keep Pearl and they set up a safe space for her. Theo enjoys his time with Pearl, until one day “Pearl did not wake from her sweet dreams.” Theo is sad for a while until little by little “Theo’s memories of Pearl turned from tears to smiles.” Theo makes an origami bird that he brings to the park. He is finally ready to feed the birds again, but he notices a bird with only one leg. A sweet story about grief that illustrated how time heals.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Although the book includes an author’s note that warns about picking up an injured animal that “might defend itself and hurt you,” readers receive a mixed message. Theo also seems to be too young to be on his own in the park without a caregiver.
To whom would you recommend this book? This would be a good choice for children dealing with grief.
Who should buy this book? Public Libraries and elementary school libraries
Where would you shelve it? Picture Books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA
Date of review: 7/9/2021
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