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Our Gracie Aunt.

by Jacqueline Woodson, Illustrations by Jon J. Muth Hyperion Books, June 2002 $15.99, ISBN 0-786-80620-6

Johnson and Beebee don't know what to make of their mother. "Sometimes Mama went away for a day. Sometimes for a lot of days." One day, the children's mother seemingly abandons them for good. Eventually, Johnson and Beebee learn that their mother, who has been hospitalized, is too sick to care for them. A social worker puts the kids into familial foster care, taking them to live with their Aunt Gracie. Sad, confused and mistrustful of an aunt they barely know, the young siblings fear that one day she will abandon them too.

Johnson, the youngest child, narrates Our Gracie Aunt. Through his hopeful eyes, readers feel the warmth, caring, and love that emanates from his mother's sister. Beebee is more cynical, but eventually softens under Aunt Gracie's nurturing and home-baked cookies.

Jacqueline Woodson, a Coretta Scott King Award winner and author of Sweet, Sweet Memory and We Had a Picnic This Sunday Past, comfortably and compellingly writes about young people who deal with difficult but believable family situations. Our Gracie Aunt, for young readers ages 6 to 9, proves the importance of family. Jon J. Muth's stark and moody illustrations nicely depict the children's fear and isolation, then finally, the love and acceptance that shines upon them.

--Lynda Jones is a BIBR associate editor.
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Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Jones, Lynda
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 2002
Words:231
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