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March 2019



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Pearl Verses the World

Pearl Verses the World by Sally Murphy deals with a difficult subject – the death of a grandparent – in a hopeful way. The book starts with Pearl in school, listing the different groups of children in her class. I am in a group of one, she says. This is because she spends all her time at school worrying about what’s going on at home, where Mom is looking after Granny. Pearl remembers all the fun things she used to do with Granny, but now Granny doesn’t know who she is. The class teacher, Miss Bruff, wants the children to write verse which rhymes. It doesn’t have to, thinks Pearl, although she can produce this:
There was a young lady called Pearl Who was not a rhyming type girl. She said, “I’ve no time For poems that rhyme,” Which made her poor teacher go hurl.

At school, In the fiction corner there are pink books full of princesses and girls who want to be princesses and black books about bad boys and brave boys and brawny boys. Where is the book about a girl whose poems don’t rhyme and whose Granny is fading?

Pearl dreads Granny’s funeral but at the last moment delivers a eulogy in (non-rhyming) verse. Her teacher says how good it was and then tells the class that verse doesn’t have to rhyme. Reformation of Miss Bruff! And Pearl starts to think of Granny ‘somewhere’, no longer old and ill. The illustrations by Heather Potter are charming and the poetic element in the book makes it quite different from most issues books for children.

The book is published by The Candlewick Press and I read it on the Kindle thanks to NetGalley.


I think I should get that book for Florence. Her class is full of children with lovely bubbly grandparents who come to sports day and have them to stay. She understands that it's different for us - but maybe it would help to think that she isn't quite alone.
I see Amazon list it out of stock but maybe a library could get it. The book is very short, tackles Pearl's problems but is not upsetting. There's even humour in the classroom scenes.
That sounds great - the limerick made me LOL!
Good! There's more of the same.
Reminds me - a bit - of Rachel Anderson's BLack Thorn White Thorn - a different way of coping with the same problem
I don't know the Rachel Anderson book, I'll keep a look out for it.


Sounds charming. I like books that help children deal with issues which may be happening in their lives. I remember Virginia Ironside's The Huge Bag of Worries was a wonderful resource when my girls were little. nicola@vintagereads
My daughter was very resistant to that sort of thing!