BOOKS: Sweet Magnolia
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1996:
by Virginia Kroll, illustrated by
Charlesbridge Publishing (85 Main Street, Watertown,
MA 02172-4411), 1995. $6.95, paperback.
As ANIMAL PEOPLE pointed out at length in our
January/February 1993 edition, people of color have been
substantially and actively involved in the hands-on aspects of
the humane movement for as long as there has been a humane
movement, and have done much humane educating, too, but
no one would ever know it from the visible face of the cause.
Sweet Magnolia does something about that, describing
the summer visit of Denise, age six, to her Creole grandmother,
a wildlife rehabilitator in the Louisiana bayou country.
It’s the sort of story that the Rush Limbaugh crowd will
deride as all too politically correct, designed to appeal at once
to the multiculturalists and “humaniacs.” It also happens to
reflect a substantial reality that the organized humane movement
would do well to discover and encourage.
Besides all that, Sweet Magnolia is a gentle treatment
of the difficulty of loving and letting go, appealing to
children while offering a subtext of comfort to parents who
read it aloud to children seeming at times to grow too fast.