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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Truth of Me, written by Patricia MacLachlan. Katherine Tegen Books, Harper. 2013. $18.99 ages 6 and up

"I know Maddy says she has lots of animal friends in the woods. I know she says she once shared corn bread with a bear, the two of them sitting on a log. But I also know something my mother and father don't know. Maddy has powers all her own. Powers that other people don't have. Jack and Lizzie know this, too. They have met Maddy."

How lucky was I to spend Monday with Patricia MacLachlan and Sharon Creech and their exceptional new books? In The Truth of Me Robbie spends the summer with his much loved grandmother. His distant parents are off to Europe on a tour as part of a classical music quartet. Robbie is sent to stay with Maddy while they are away.

He loves Maddy wholeheartedly. His dog Ellie runs a close second, and he is allowed to bring her with him. Maddy is a consummate grandmother...she loves adventure, awes him with inspiring stories and even has a special way with the animals that live in the nearby woods. Not everyone loves Maddy's tales, but Robbie does. They may not be true, but he is not nervous as others seem to be.

"If she does anything strange, you can call Henry," says my mother.
Maddy always does strange things. And my parents are leaving me for two months while they go off to play. If they were really worried, they wouldn't leave me. Would they?"

Maddy loves camping and being in the outdoors. Soon they are off with tent and everything necessary for a overnight camp. When things go awry and Robbie must seek help from Maddy's friend Henry, Robbie makes a welcome discovery.

Ms. MacLachlan writes with elegance and heart. She creates characters that live long in our memories. Her stories continue to strike a chord with readers young and old. Heart, truth and love bind Robbie, Ellie, Maddy and Henry together in a charming tale of adventure and hope.  The gentle ending bodes well for all of them...what could be better than that?

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