Review by Linda Harmon
Granny Torrelli has a way of getting
her 12-year-old granddaughter, Rosie, to talk about almost anything
that is bothering her. They talk while they prepare "zuppa"
As the story opens, Rosie is having
trouble with her best friend, Bailey. They have been friends since
they were babies, and their mothers are neighbors and close friends.
Bailey hurt Rosie's feelings. Bailey is blind, and when he learns to
read Braille Rosie feels left out. She works really hard to learn
the Braille alphabet so she can read with Bailey. When she surprises
Bailey with this fact, he is not impressed and tells her to "get
Rosie doesn't understand Bailey's
reaction and is angry as well as hurt, so she heads for Granny's.
Granny can tell that Rosie is upset
about something and thinks it may have something to do with Bailey
and possibly Rosie's stubborn pride. She decides it is time to make
soup with Rosie. To get Rosie to open up, she tells a story about
herself and her best friend, Pardo, when she was a young girl in
Italy. Granny tells Rosie how much she loved Pardo and what a great
friend he was, just like Bailey is to Rosie.
Granny's patience and nonjudgmental
approach make it safe for Rosie to open up with her. Rosie loves
Granny's stories about the old country, and through her stories
Granny is able to teach Rosie lessons about what is important in
life and relationships. Granny never compares her stories to what is
happening in Rosie's life but lets Rosie come to her own conclusions
about the similarities and results.
Eventually the soup is finished, they
take some to Bailey and his mother, and an apology results. (You
will have to read the story to see who apologizes.)
[to top of second column in
Just when things are back to normal, a
new girl, Janine, moves into the neighborhood. Janine immediately
acts like she and Rosie are best friends and takes more than a
casual interest in Bailey. When Janine mentions to Bailey that she
would like to learn Braille, he offers to teach her. Rosie is
furious and discovers herself having feelings about Bailey that are
Granny notices Rosie's reactions about
Janine and decides it is time for Rosie and Bailey to help her make
pasta. As they begin to work the dough, she asks them if she has
ever told them about Violetta. The story is about herself, Pardo and
the new girl, Violetta. It is a story of needless jealousy and hurt
and the lesson she learned.
In the end Rosie realizes that when
Granny says, "Tutto va bene, Rosie," it really is true that "All is
This is a charming intergenerational
tale as well as a coming-of-age story as Rosie and Bailey approach
adolescence. The language is so colorful that you can almost smell
the food cooking in Granny's kitchen. The dialogue is warm and
humorous and reminds us that conflicts will pass and peace will
Creech is also the author of the Newbery Medal winner "Walk Two
Moons" and the Newbery Honor Book "The Wanderer." This book is
recommended for ages 8 to 12. For more information about this book
and others by Sharon Creech, visit the library at 725 Pekin St. or
call (217) 732-8878.
Public Library District]