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'Granny Torrelli Makes Soup'     Send a link to a friend

[FEB. 25, 2004]  "Granny Torrelli Makes Soup," by Sharon Creech. HarperCollins Children's Books, 2003, 141 pages.

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" (supper).

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 over herself."

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.)

 

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Granny Torrelli Makes SoupJust 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 confusing.

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 well."

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 return.

Sharon 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.

[Linda Harmon, Lincoln Public Library District]

Life Sentence, No Parole

If we tried to invent the cruelest punishment for dogs, we probably couldn't come up with anything worse than "solitary confinement" on a chain or in a kennel.

Dogs are pack animals who crave the companionship of others.  Scratches behind the ears, games of fetch, or even just walks around the block mean the world to them.  Curling up at your feet while you watch TV is their idea of heaven.

Many dogs left to fend for themselves at the end of a chain fall prey to attacks by other animals or cruel people, and many others are injured or hanged or choke as a result of getting entangled or caught in their tether.

If you have a backyard dog, please, bring him or her inside.  They don't want much--just you.

A public service announcement from Lincoln Daily News and helpinganimals.com

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