Friday, April 30, 2010

Poetry Friday: Diamond Willow

Diamond Willow (Frances Foster Books)Diamond Willow Helen Frost

Well, I loved Crossing Stones so much, I wanted to read more of Frost's book. When Willow makes a mistake with her dogsled team, the family's favorite dog is seriously injured. In her guilt, Willow is determined to make things right, which leads to adventure and long-held family secrets, but without being as melodramatic as it sounds.

Willow lives in a small village in Alaska, and is part Athabascan. Her racial and cultural identity are very minor parts of the story, and I can't speak to the authenticity of it, but a cursory search doesn't throw up any criticism and I do like seeing modern stories about Native American characters, especially because this book isn't about being Native American.

Diamond Willow is a type of wood found in northern climates, where diamonds with dark centers form where injured branches fall away. The injury makes the wood stunningly beautiful, but one must remove the bark to find it. Willow is named after Diamond Willow and is serves as a fitting metaphor for her character. Most of the book is told in verse, in her voice, diamond shapes with bolded words to get at what she's really thinking. We also get interjections from the animals in Willow's life, all of which are the souls of her and her friend's departed family members, one of which is a character in The Braid, which has been on my TBR list for a loooooooooooong time.

I love
about dogs:
They don't talk
behind your back.
If they're mad at you,
they bark a couple times
and get it over with. It's true
they slobber on you sometimes.
(I'm glad people don't do that.) They
jump out and scare you in the dark. (I know,
I should say me not "you"--some people aren't
afraid of anything.) But dogs don't make fun
of you. They don't hit you in the back
of your neck with an ice-covered
snowball, and if they did, and
it made you cry, all their
friends wouldn't stand
there laughing
at you.

Round-up is over at Great Kid's Books!

Book Provided by... my local library

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Mary Lee said...

I *heart* Helen Frost (Crossing Stones was one of my 2009 favorites). Diamond Willow will be my next read aloud/read along. I'm curious to see what my 4th graders will make of it.

Laura said...

Another book to add to my already too long of a list.

Laura Evans
all things poetry