Friday, November 26, 2010

Awww... That was nice.

The Georges & The Jewels.  If you loved Misty of Chincoteague or The Black Stallion as a kid, your kid might just love Jane Smiley's YA novel.  I did.

It's a quiet, horsey kind of book (big surprise), told by Abby Lovitt, a seventh grader from a born-again family that buys half-broke horses and then trains them up for sale.  Set somewhere in Northern California in the somewhat recent past, this relaxed but quick-moving tale rings true:  Smiley's got seventh grade internal naivete and awkwardly orchestrated interpersonal drama pegged, and she clearly grew up riding, just like Abby.  As we enjoy our protagonist's solid decency and quiet observance of the life all around her, we also explore the ways of geldings (Georges) vs. mares (Jewels) with a little bit of horse-whispering along the way. 

My guess is that old forty-something fogeys like me will smile gently and nod, recalling the psychologically complex teen truths and traumas Smiley can conjure, while tweens will see themselves and their friends in these characters so far removed from their own daily lives.

A quick read, this one's bound to get passed around from (would-be) rider to (would-be) rider.  Definitely an unpretentiously pleasant and true-feeling tale.  Give it an afternoon.  I don't think you'll regret it.


p.s. What was my ACTION?  You say.  Well, I made pinecone turkeys.

How in heaven's name does that relate to this book? You ask.  Well, reading about how Abby and her classmate Kyle crafted a clay version of Mission San Juan Bautista for a school-wide CA history project, I waxed nostalgic for the days of dioramas, Crayolas, and Silly Putty.  Neither Abby nor Kyle had much money, so they had to make do.  Hence, I decided to indulge my inner craftinator, but on a budget.  I wanted decorations to freakify the day, to make Thanksgiving edgy again.  And I did myself proud.

Check out yesterday's post to see my creepily fetching gobblers: icons of the day they be.  And happily for all, no actual turkeys were sacrificed at my house this Thanksgiving.

Pedestrian pinecone pop-art or protectors of poultry?  Jury's out.

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