Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Children's Book Review: For the Love of Autumn (ages 4-8)

book coverFor the Love of Autumn by Patricia Polacco is a sweet story about a kitten and a young, romantic student teacher. Oddly enough, my energetic, WipeOut-obsessed, truck-bashing son has been requesting it every night since I brought it home from the library. It's reassuring to know there's a gentle side under all those snakes, snails, and puppy dog tails.

Danielle falls in love with her kitten at first sight, naming her Autumn because it's almost Halloween. They spend their days playing and lounging on the sofa, munching on popcorn and watching TV.

One day Danielle receives a letter offering her a teaching position in Port Townsend, Washington. She's thrilled because she has always wanted to live by the sea.

Danielle rents a cozy cottage on the bay and begins teaching a classroom full of inquisitive moppets. They want to know all about her. Is she married? Danielle wistfully answers no, but someday she'll meet "the one." "How will you know he's the one?" they want to know. Why, when she hears the sound of thunder, smells jasmine, and sees the wind blow his hair.

One night an injured Autumn returns home during a storm, but gets spooked and runs away for several weeks. Danielle is lost without Autumn, but elated when she turns up later, looking well-fed and rested. Where has she been? And why does she keep disappearing for weeks at a time? If you're guessing that it involves a handsome man, jasmine blossoms, and a thunderstorm, you would be correct. This book pulls double duty: a cute cat story for the kiddos and a romance for the moms.

Visit Patricia Polacco's Web site at to learn more about her life and books.

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