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Review of Yard Sale

bunting_yard saleYard Sale
by Eve Bunting; illus. by Lauren Castillo
Primary   Candlewick   32 pp.
4/15   978-0-7636-6542-5   15.99   g

In this straightforward, heartfelt story, hard economic times mean that Callie and her parents must move from their house into a small apartment. “Small but nice,” Callie’s mother tells her. The family must sell many of its things to prepare for the move (hence the yard sale of the title), and Callie is bereft as she watches furniture and other items leave in strangers’ hands. A neighborhood friend tries to comfort her, but their conversation is punctuated by instances of loss as more of Callie’s things are carried away. Then a well-intentioned but misguided older woman says, “Aren’t you just the cutest thing?…Are you for sale?” and this proves to be too much for Callie to handle. She bursts into tears, and her parents immediately reassure her that they would never sell her. “Not for a million, trillion dollars…Not ever, ever, ever.” This is a turning point for Callie, who ends up embracing the idea that the important things in life aren’t things and that as long as they have one another, they will be okay in their new apartment. Castillo’s ink and watercolor illustrations employ soft line and warm colors to depict the story’s scenes, and they expertly zoom in and out to provide broad perspective on the yard sale and close-ups of tender moments between Callie and her parents.

From the March/April 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Megan Dowd Lambert About Megan Dowd Lambert

Megan Dowd Lambert is an instructor at Simmons College’s Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. For nearly ten years she also worked in the education department of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

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