Monday, October 3, 2016

The Mermaid’s Purse by Patricia Polacco - OPTIONAL

Polacco, Patricia The Mermaid’s Purse.  PICTURE BOOK.  Putnam (Penguin), 2016.  $18.

Polacco’s grandmother started a lending library in the late 1890’s in her small town.  While the farmers were skeptical, the knowledge she had helped the entire community.  When a tornado ripped through and leveled the family home and her library, the community rallied around her, building a new library and filling it with books.

I love to story of the library and teaching the farmers – especially the one who was hostile because he didn’t know how to read.  However, the book opens telling how she was born in a caul, or birth membrane, called a “mermaid’s purse” by the midwife.  If you google mermaid’s purse, however, it is only applied to marine animals, not to humans – this might be a regional, 1800’s usage that is now obsolete.  (I would STRONGLY suggest that is you google mermaid’s purse DO NOT read the urban dictionary version – AVERT YOUR EYES).  This is an audacious beginning for a story meant for young children.  It will probably give some adult readers a little pause. 

EL – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher. 

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