Friday, July 13, 2012

Review: Pearl Verses the World

Pearl Verses the World
By Sally Murphy, illustrated by Heather Potter
Published 2011 by Candlewick

Pearl likes to write poetry, even though she doesn't believe it needs to rhyme (much to her teacher's dismay). Pearl also likes that her family is made of three - her grandmother, mother and herself. But now, there are times when Pearl's grandmother doesn't seem to recognize her and her mother always seems worn out and tired. Pearl might soon need her poetry more than ever.

I've said it before: I'm a sucker for a verse novel. I picked a few up recently simply because I knew they'd be quick reads (I have a serious book problem - I get books, I want more books - ALL THE TIME). I think I'd heard a bit about this one before, so I was happy to take a little time and read it. Despite its small size, this is a book with some power, telling the story of Pearl and her beloved grandmother's terrible illness and eventual death. Pearl uses her poetry to express herself and find her voice, though she may clash heads with her stubborn English teacher. The novel tells a relatively straightforward story, but it's written beautifully and simply. I think this book would be a great comfort to kids who've experienced the death or illness of a loved one and may offer ideas for channelling one's grief. I thought Pearl was a delightful narrator, with just the right amount of spunk. This is a short but engaging read that I'm glad to have picked up. Also, the double meaning in that title: that's clever right there.

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