That Book Woman
Illustrator: David Small
Cal's sister "would keep her nose a-twixt the pages of a book daybreak to dusky dark if Mama would allow." Not Cal, though. He can't read; he doesn't see any use for the "chicken scratch" that appears in books, and he has no interest in sitting "stoney-still." But then the Book Woman starts coming 'round, riding up the steep Appalachian mountain on horseback. Every two weeks she brings books for Cal's family-traveling through rain, fog, cold, and snow. Author's note. Full-color ink, watercolor, and pastel chalk illustrations.
JLG Release: Nov 2008
Awards & Honors
NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2009, History/Life and Culture in the Americas
Praise & Reviews
Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Book List, The Horn Book Magazine, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal
Junior Library Guild
Though the Book Woman is central to the story line, for much of the book she appears with her back to the reader or as a small figure traveling in the background. This allows Cal, who narrates the story, to stay in the forefront as he undergoes the transformation from nonreader to reader. Cal is adamant in claiming his lack of interest in books, but Small’s depictions suggest otherwise. Whether observing that his sister is once again lost in the pages of a book or watching the Book Woman from across the room, Cal clearly knows he is missing something, as his furrowed brow and turned-down mouth illustrate. When the Book Woman stops for a visit after a long winter during which Cal’s sister has taught him to read, for the first time Cal is pictured smiling. He has discovered another world.
10" x 8"
Level 4.3; Points: 0.5;
Scholastic Reading Counts
Level 4.5; Points: 1;