Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Grandma's General Store - The Ark

Grandma's General Store - The Ark

Dorothy Carter
Illustrator:  Thomas B. Allen 
For ages 8 to 10
Farrar, Straus and Giroux , 2005   ISBN: 0374327661

Five-year-old Pearl lives with her brother Prince (who is almost seven), her Mama, and her Daddy in a small town in Florida. Her Grandma’s general store and home are right next door, and so Pearl and Prince have two homes to live in. Though life is not exactly easy, Pearl and her brother are quite content with their world. Then everything changes quite suddenly. Pearl’s Daddy loses his job and he cannot find another job in the small town. The Great Depression has made it very hard to find work, and he is tired of the crippling racism that is rife in the south. Pearl’s father decides that the only thing to do is for him to go up “North.”

Pearl and Prince are devastated when their parents pack up and leave for Philadelphia, leaving the children in their grandmother’s care. Mama and Daddy need to find work and get settled, and then the children can join them. Thankfully Grandma is a kind and wise old lady who makes the children feel loved. She tries to help them understand the Jim Crow laws as best she can, and she does her best to give her grandchildren a safe home to live in.

This meaningful little story is told from Pearl’s point of view, and through her eyes, we get a sense of what it was like to be a little African American girl growing up in the south in the 1930’s. Though the children see much ugliness and worry in their lives, they also have their grandmother’s love and strength to help them.