A Message for Grandma
Author and Illustrator: Carol Breckenridge
Publisher: First Edition Design Publishing
Publication Date: March 27, 2017
Pages: 36 Pages
About The Author
Carol Breckenridge is an artist, illustrator, and art therapist. A former elementary school teacher, she worked for 20 years as an art therapist in mental health centers, and continues to supervise art therapy interns at Ursuline College.
This is a gentle story about Alice, a young girl living in western Pennsylvania in the 1890s. Alice's mother sends her with a message to her German-speaking Grandma on the other side of the family farm. Alice speaks only English. As she walks across the farm repeating the message so that she will remember, she mangles it more with each new experience. Happily she gets it right at Grandma's house.
I am always excited when I find a children's book that helps the reader learn about his/her heritage. I grew up on a farm with my German-speaking grandmother living nearby. Luckily, my grandmother could also speak English so I did not have to speak German to communicate with her.
The author makes it clear that each member of the farm family had to work hard to support the family. Alice and her nine brothers and sisters all had chores to do each day. Alice's mother needed flour to bake bread, so she asked Alice to walk to the other side of the farm and give her grandmother the following message, "Kann ich Mehl borgen".
It is no surprise that Alice had trouble remembering these German words. The German phrase soon turned into, "Ich kann my burden?" and "Kann is meal burger," and "I kann itch my bottom."
By the time Alice arrived at her grandmother's house, she remembered the German phrase her mother gave her. Unfortunately, the grandmother answered in German and the reader is not given the English meaning. The story ends with Alice getting a big hug from her grandmother, so I assume she got the flour and was soon on her way home.
The story is illustrated with soft watercolor paintings that add value to the story.
I am giving this story a four star rating because of the uncertain ending. It is a good story to share with children to teach about immigrants and American history. Kids will love the humor and relate to Alice's memory difficulties.
MY RATING: 4 STARS OUT OF 5
FYI - I received a digital review copy of this book from Net Galley.
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