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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Grudge Keeper

When end papers give integral information to a story, readers take note. In my library, if I do not show the end papers, readers ask to see what they missed. In Mara Rockliff's new book The Grudge Keeper, they would have missed a surprised young man, a young woman grimacing in pain and holding her shin, and another young man just in front of her, his angled movement indicating he caused the young woman's injury. The following half title page reveals a seemingly quiet village. And the title page shows an older man trudging behind a wooden cart piled high with scrolls of paper: the Grudge Keeper.

Imagine a town like Bonnyripple where no one held a grudge except old Cornelius. Whatever trivial or monumental grievances occurred were scrawled on paper and stored in his cottage. The jars and containers on his shelves are filled with them, in much the same way the BFG kept dreams. The text is filled with word play, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and imagery. Eliza Wheeler's ink and watercolor illustrations, filled with shadow and light, call attention to the thousands of scrolled grudges. When a howling wind blows, the people of Bonnyripple find that "squabbles were scrambled with quibbles" and in the middle of the heaps of displaced grudges, the people heard the groan from Cornelius. 

I love a happy ending, and this book finishes with friendliness and comfort, prompting me to think twice when I want to hold onto a grudge. The final end papers reveal a happy pair of women, their grudges forgotten. 

1 comment:

  1. Of course, libraries that cover book jackets with plastic and then stick them down, tend to spoil the fun..