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sun and spoon

Sun & Spoon

Описание

It had been only two months since Spoon Gilmore’s grandmother died, but already he was worried that he would forget her. That’s why he needed something of Gram’s – something special that had belonged to her, something to remember her by.

Spoon wasn’t quite sure what the something was, though he knew he would know it when he saw it. But Spoon’s little sister, Joanie, did not leave him much time to look. She was always following him, demanding attention. Spoon didn’t have the time he needed to think, or perhaps he wouldn’t have done what he did.

02 Nutmeg State Children’s Book Award Masterlist and 00-01 Young Reader’s Choice Award Program Masterlist

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Sun & Spoon – Kevin Henkes

The Search

1

SPOON GILMORE’S GRANDMOTHER had been dead for two months when he realized that he wanted something special of hers to keep. This thought came to him in the middle of a hot, sticky July night and nagged at him off and on until morning.

It was all he could think about at breakfast. He was sitting alone at the kitchen table having the same breakfast he had almost every morning—a bowl of Cap’n Crunch and a glass of grape juice. His hand wobbled and his juice glass grazed his cheek, nearly missing his mouth, he was so preoccupied. Juice dribbled down his chin. He wiped the juice with the back of his hand, then wiped his hand on his T-shirt.

Something of Gram’s. Spoon had been dreaming about her since her death. Not frightening dreams. But dreams in which she would pass through a room quickly, or be sitting in a chair in a shadowy corner, watching. At first, the dreams were constant, every night, but they were growing less frequent. Spoon was afraid of losing what little was left of her—his memories. He was afraid of forgetting her. That’s why he wanted something of hers.

He didn’t know exactly what he had in mind, but he knew what he didn’t have in mind: a photograph. Spoon disliked photographs of himself and he assumed that that’s the way it was with most people. It surely had been the case with Gram, who, upon seeing a photo of herself, would sniff, disgusted, and brush it aside. A photograph of Gram would not work. A photograph definitely was not what he was looking for. He needed something of Gram’s that had been important to her. And he didn’t want the something to be a girl thing like a necklace or a pin or an earring.

What could it be?

Sunlight shone through the large kitchen window, turning the tabletop white. Out the window Spoon could see his parents already at work in the garden. His father, Scott, was a fourth-grade teacher and his mother, Kay, taught art at the same school, Lincoln Elementary, to all the grades, kindergarten through fifth. Because they both had the summers free, they had become devoted gardeners over the years. Scott was most interested in vegetables and his compost bin, and Kay spent most of her time with her flowers. From dawn until dusk, day in and day out, all summer long, they could usually be found in the garden.

This particular summer was supposed to have been different, though. The entire family had planned to travel by car from their home in Madison, Wisconsin, to Eugene, Oregon, where Spoon’s maternal grandmother, Evie, lived. They were going to take their time, stop along the way, see things that most people miss because of their hurried pace. But Spoon’s other grandmother, the one who had lived in Madison just five blocks away, had died suddenly in May of a heart attack. Gram. Pa lived alone now in the house Spoon’s father had grown up in.

Mom and I can’t leave Pa alone in Madison for the summer, Scott had told his three children early in June, glancing from one to the next to the next, then looking away and jingling the change in his pocket. Sadness showed in his eyes and in the droop of his shoulders. Even if we’d cut the trip short . . . I can’t do it. So the trip we planned is canceled. We’ll try again next year. But Mom and I talked with Evie. And she’ll fly any or all of you out west if you want to go. For as long as you’d like. So think about it. . . .

Joanie, who was six, couldn’t bear to leave her mother.

Charlie, who was twelve, said yes instantly.

And Spoon, who was ten and in the middle, thought and thought and thought before finally saying no.

Charlie called him a baby. And maybe he was. But this was the first time someone he loved would be gone forever. He didn’t like to think about the forever part. But when he did, which was often, the only place he wanted to be was home.

Evie’s husband, Henry, had died long before Spoon was born, so Spoon only knew him through stories and photographs. He felt no real connection to Henry, but his connection to Gram was strong.

With his gaze fixed steadily on his bowl of Cap’n Crunch and his arms encircling it, Spoon sat as if in a trance, racking his brain for a solution. Something of Gram’s. What could it be?

The cereal had become soggy. The milk in the bowl had turned a yellowy color, inedible. I’ve come up with nothing, Spoon thought, and I’ve wasted breakfast. He frowned at the bowl and pushed it away.

“I thought you liked Cap’n Crunch,” said Joanie, popping up from behind the counter. She had the annoying habit of surprising Spoon, turning up when he least expected it. And this summer she was worse than ever.

He ignored her, rising from the table and placing his dishes in the sink.

You can have some of my Floopies, she told him. That’s what she called Froot Loops, the only cereal she would eat. But you can’t read the box. You’ll fill your head with too much stuff. And then you won’t have room for other stuff.

Spoon turned toward her and shot her a look that said, You’re crazy.

Do you think we’ll get a postcard from Charlie today? Joanie asked in her high-pitched voice.

Do I care? He did. But he would never let on. He was still by the sink with his back to her, and he could feel her presence like a persistent itch. He decided to do the few dishes there were, hoping

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SUN & SPOON

by Kevin Henkes ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 16, 1997

Wearing his novelist’s hat, Henkes (Protecting Marie, 1995, etc.) offers another meticulously crafted, quietly engaging epiphany: A 10-year-old looking for just the right memento of his recently dead grandmother finds it literally in his hands. It’s been two months since Gram’s funeral, and Spoon, worried about his fading memories of her, surreptitiously searches his grandparents’ house for something of hers with which to anchor them. He settles at last on the deck of cards she always used for solitaire, but his twinge of guilt becomes knife- edged when Pa, his grieving grandfather, allows that he’d been taking some comfort from using those cards, and can’t sleep for wondering what happened to them. Spoon finds the courage to put them back and to confess; later he discovers something better—a tracing of Gram’s hand, made when she was his age, with a big M on it and the legend, “M is always for Martha,” which was her name. Why better? Because he finds the same M in the creases in the lines of his own palm, as well as in his younger sister’s and parents’ palms. Henkes deftly delineates characters and relationships with brief conversations and small personal or family rituals, folds in motifs—hands, the sun—to give the plot a pleasing rhythm, and consistently finds the perfect words to evoke each moment’s sometimes-complex feelings. Like Henkes’s other novels, this is more restrained in tone than his picture books, but it is infused with the same good humor, wisdom, and respect for children’s hearts and minds that characterize all his works. (Fiction. 9-11)

Wearing his novelist’s hat, Henkes (Protecting Marie, 1995, etc.) offers another meticulously crafted, quietly engaging epiphany: A 10-year-old looking for just the right memento of his recently dead grandmother finds it literally in his hands. It’s been two months since Gram’s funeral, and Spoon, worried about his fading memories of her, surreptitiously searches his grandparents’ house for something of hers with which to anchor them. He settles at last on the deck of cards she always used for solitaire, but his twinge of guilt becomes knife- edged when Pa, his grieving grandfather, allows that he’d been taking some comfort from using those cards, and can’t sleep for wondering what happened to them. Spoon finds the courage to put them back and to confess; later he discovers something better—a tracing of Gram’s hand, made when she was his age, with a big M on it and the legend, “M is always for Martha,” which was her name. Why better? Because he finds the same M in the creases in the lines of his own palm, as well as in his younger sister’s and parents’ palms. Henkes deftly delineates characters and relationships with brief conversations and small personal or family rituals, folds in motifs—hands, the sun—to give the plot a pleasing rhythm, and consistently finds the perfect words to evoke each moment’s sometimes-complex feelings. Like Henkes’s other novels, this is more restrained in tone than his picture books, but it is infused with the same good humor, wisdom, and respect for children’s hearts and minds that characterize all his works. (Fiction. 9-11) ]]>