That Book Woman by Heather Henson
Illustrated by David Small
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Word Count: 920 (estimate)
What a beautiful story that is based on the Pack Horse Librarians in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky. (Heather provides this information in the back matter of the book which is intriguing in and of itself.) The story tells about a boy who has no interest in That Book Woman or reading...or does he? I would whole heartedly encourage you to read this remarkable book.
Cal and his family live high up in the mountains.
So high we hardly sight a soul - 'cept hawks a-winging
in the sky and critters hid among the trees.
Besides the dialect of Cal, the words themselves encourage the reader to close their eyes and visualize how high up they are.
It is this dialect that provides the delightful word play throughout the book. Below are my favorite ones from the book...
I was not born to sit stoney-still a-staring at some chicken
scratch. And I do not fancy it one bit when Lark plays Teacher -
the onliest school a jillion miles back down the creek.
...the way Lark's eyes shine penny-bright
...we have no greenback's here, no shiny coins to spend.
Comes a time when the world turns white as Grandpap's
And thoughts they go a-swirling 'round inside my head,
just like the whirly-flakes outside our door.
And even though most days we're tight as toes pinched
into boughten shoes, I do not mind.
And this is not all of the captivating language and word play used in That Book Woman.