Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Widow's Broom

     After reading to children professionally for more than fifteen years, I can say it is fairly seldom that a story actually renders them speechless and wide-eyed with the sublime tension of suspense.  It's all the more remarkable when the story is so subtly told.
     Such is The Widow's Broom by Chris Van Allsburg, which tells the tale of a lonely but kindly country widow named Minna Shaw, who inherits the broom of a witch.  Mr. Van Allsburg pairs his customarily evocative, precise and textured art with a way of conveying emotion and meaning that is sheer elegance, achieving a somber subtly nearly unheard of in picture books.
     Still more appropriate to the approaching holiday, The Widow's Broom balances a sense of the creepy with a deep understanding of what its young audience can handle.  It enthralls with a dreadfulness that turns out to be just dreadful enough to utterly delight.
     A treat of the non-standard variety for your Halloween.  

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