Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Clara and Davie by Patricia Polacco

Clara and Davie by Patricia Polacco. unpgd. Scholastic Inc., January, 2014. 9780545354776. (Finished copy courtesy of publisher for review.)

Is there no one famous that Patricia Polacco is not related to? Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, is related by marriage. This is the story of her childhood and the seeds of her gift of healing. She was born on Christmas day and named Clarissa by her ailing mother and raised by her older sister. No other information is given about her mother, but this is essentially the story of the bond between Clara and her older brother Davie. He was the one who dubbed Clarissa Clara and he doted on her in every way including interfering with Dolly when she disciplined Clara for her lisp. He even went to bat for her with the family, insisting that she be homeschooled. 

Polacco is no stranger to ridicule by peers and it is a recurring theme in her many picture books. She captures the moments of cruelty and its aftermath in print and illustration so realistically and poignantly. The mixed media art sports a somewhat muted palette. Emotion and warmth seep from most every page. An afterword containing more information about Clara Barton concludes the story.

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