Wednesday, February 1, 2017
The Branch, written by Mireille Messier and illustrated by Pierre Pratt. Kids Can, 2016. $18.95 ages 4 and up
My eyes snap open.
What's that noise?
I throw back my covers
and rush to the window.
Everything outside is covered in ice."
Many people in New Brunswick are dealing with the same sounds and agony as the young narrator of this personal and sincere story. As she tries to settle in for a good night's sleep, she can hear the sound of an ice storm outside her window.
"When I finally doze off, I dream that
I am wearing a crown of icicles. My tree
is my castle. My branch is my throne.
I am the Queen of the Storm!"
She awakens to ice covering everything, making her world sparkle like diamonds in the sun. Careful observation reveals a broken branch across the lawn ... a very special branch. Everywhere she looks people are piling broken branches at the curb to be collected and taken away. Even Mr. Frank, her next door neighbor, is sawing a branch from his tree. She will not let anyone carry her branch away. A solemn conversation between the two has Mr. Frank understanding her love for the branch, and giving a nod to its potential.
With a little thought, she comes up with an idea and shares it with Mr. Frank. He thinks he can help, and he does just that!
"We draw plans.
We saw some more.
We dry the wood ...
the we wait ...
and wait ...
and wait ... "
I love the first person narration. It gives it such immediacy. Pierre Pratt's signature use of bold color and ever-changing perspectives assures attention to the book's many details and the passing of time. Would that every problem resounded with such possibility!