Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Snowed in with Grandmother Silk

Snowed in with Grandmother Silk

Carol Fenner
Illustrator:  Amanda Harvey 
For ages 7 to 9
Penguin, 2005   ISBN: 978-0142404720

Rudford, or Ruddy, as he is called by almost everyone, is most unhappy. His parents have decided that they are going to go on a cruise and he has to go and spend ten days, including Halloween, with his Grandmother Silk. It’s not that he doesn’t like his Grandmother Silk exactly, it’s just that she isn’t much like him. She only watches “Masterpiece Theatre” on TV; she wears high heels all the time; she always calls him Rudford; she hates loud noises; and she is always ever so proper and correct about everything. She’s not much fun and that’s a fact.

Ruddy manages to arrange things quite nicely when he gets to Grandmother Silk’s house. He gets a wonderful gorilla costume for Halloween, and he learns how to lay a fire. There is homework to do of course, and all in all he is finding enough things to do to keep himself busy and out of Grandmother Silk’s way. He reckons he will be able to get through the ten days without too much difficulty. Then disaster strikes; a snowstorm hits, which brings down a big tree, which in turn brings down power lines and phone lines, cutting Grandmother’s house off from the rest of the world. Now Ruddy and Grandmother find themselves without power, without water, without a phone, unsure of how to spend their time, and worse still, stuck with each other for company. When will help arrive?

At first the pair of them are quite helpless and hopeless. Neither are very good at surviving without all the creature comforts that they are used to, but then they learn to adapt. They bring water to the house from the lake, build fires in the fireplaces that actually give off heat, cook decent food to eat, and find things to do. In addition, Grandmother Silk and Ruddy start to get to know one another for the first time. Ruddy discovers that there is a feeling person behind the hard face and under the precise “designer hair.”

In this charming little story we get to share in the relationship between two very different kinds of people, people who really think that they cannot possibly have a close friendship. Ruddy discovers that what you see is not necessarily what you have, and so does Grandmother Silk. Grandmother Silk also learns from her grandson that she is too quick to judge people simply because they don’t live up to her standards of what is “correct.”  The way in which the two main characters in this book learn so much from, and about, each other makes this book truly special.