Friday, September 28, 2018

Review - The Old Woman Who Named Things

The Old Woman Who Named Things
by Cynthia Rylant
illustrated by Kathryn Brown
Date: 1996
Publisher: Harcourt Brace and Company
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

How does an old woman who has outlived all her friends keep from being lonely? By naming the things in her life she knows she will never outlive--like her house, Franklin, and her bed, Roxanne. When a shy brown puppy appears at her front gate, the old woman won't name it, because it might not outlive her. Tender watercolors capture the charm of this heartwarming story of an old woman who doesn't know she's lonely until she meets a plucky puppy who needs a name--and someone to love.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is one of those books that just makes you want to say, "Aww!" It's an interesting premise, and not something I would've expected to see in a children's book. The old woman lives all alone, and she names her house, her car, her chair... anything that will outlive her. One day, a little puppy shows up, and she's afraid to give it a name for fear she might outlive it (the same way she's outlived all of her friends). I'm not quite clear on why she hesitates to name the dog--wouldn't that mean she expected it to outlive her?--but her reluctance to do so helps drive the story, so I guess it kind of had to be that way. Basically, I guess, she didn't want to get too attached for fear of losing yet another friend, but she got attached, anyway. I mean, it was a puppy. How do you not get attached to a puppy?

The illustrations were gentle and sweet, and fit the tone of the story perfectly. I particularly liked the old woman's awesome hairstyle.

This is a fairly strong picture book, even if the reasoning of the main character is a bit wobbly. The prose flows beautifully and the illustrations are a perfect accompaniment.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 3.67 out of 5

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