By Holly Hobbie
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 32 pages
Gem is an unusual children’s book. It has only two pages with the text: a letter from a grandmother to her granddaughter on the first and the child’s reply on the last. The reading level is perhaps mid-elementary grade, but since most of the book is illustrations inviting discussion it can readily be enjoyed by younger children as well. ||Hope find a tiny creature, Gem in the garden. At first she wants to keep him as a pet, but then decides to let him go. The pages between the two letters contain 28 hand-painted illustrations of Gem’s days and adventures. The author invites the reader to learn about the inhabitants and activities surrounding Gem.
So I began thinking about spring- and especially that day you discovered a small wonder in the garden. You called him Gem.
The book contains a very brief commentary on keeping wild animals for pets. It also suggests that children can become experts in the things that interest them, and that “probably everything is interesting the more you learn about it.” This book has great potential for adults who want to share time with a child, and also for sending a child off to dreamland.
Reviewed By Brenda Searle