The Poesy Ring: A Love Story

illus. by Bob Graham. 40p. Candlewick. Dec. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763698843.
PreS-Gr 2—Award-winning Graham (Jethro Byrd, Fairy Child) constructs a story around one lost object, a poesy ring, and the events that happen to it until it is rediscovered more than 100 years later. While young children may not know what a poesy ring is, the inscription "love never dies" engraved on the inside clearly evokes that it is a ring of commitment and adults sharing this story have an opportunity to discuss new vocabulary and customs with children. Illustrated in ink, watercolor, and pastels, the artwork beautifully reflects nature, for the ring spends much of its time outdoors throughout the story. Initially lost in Ireland in 1830 by a woman weeping bitter tears, the ring ends up next to a fallen acorn from a boy's pocket. Storms pass and wildlife creep by before a mighty oak grows to its full potential. Graham's art is magnificent; small details sprinkled throughout provide a sense of time passing, while it seems like no time for the ring since it doesn't change. Eventually, a farmer exposes it and a bird picks it up and drops it into the ocean. After many years, one fish swallows it before it is caught by fishermen. When the fish is opened, the poesy ring is revealed and sold. It is now 1967 in New York City and two street musicians enter the pawn shop and buy the ring. No matter how much time has passed or oceans crossed, love still holds true.
VERDICT This is a real gem and so lovingly rendered, it should be a first purchase for all libraries serving children.

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