A six-year-old boy goes to spend the summer with his grandmother Alida in a small town near the Canadian border. With the men all gone off to fight, the women are left to run the farms. There’s plenty for the boy to do—trying to help with the chores, getting to know the dog, and the horses, cows, pigs, and chickens.
But when his cousin Kristina goes into labor, he can’t do a thing. Instead, the house fills with women come to help and to wait, and to work on a quilt together. This is no common, everyday quilt, but one that contains all the stories of the boy’s family. The quilt tells the truth, past and future: of happiness, courage, and pain; of the greatest joy, and the greatest loss. And as they wait, the women share these memorable stories with the boy.
From the Hardcover edition.
A companion to Alida’ s Song
and The Cookcamp
, Gary Paulsen's The Quilt
spends another summer with "the boy" and his grandmother, Alida. World War II is being fought in Europe, and the boy’s mother, working in a munitions factory in Chicago, sends her six-year-old son to stay with his grandmother in Minnesota. When Alida’s neighbor Kristina goes into labor, Alida packs up the boy and goes to Kristina’s farm to help. Mystified, the boy watches as other women arrive, water is boiled, and a quilt is brought out. Now it’s time to listen, as the quilt--through the women--tells its stories about family, love, loss, and strength.
As in Paulsen’s many other semi-autobiographical stories for young readers (the Brian books, Guts, etc.), the author’s voice is never far beneath the surface. His bitterness towards his own mother, for example (as revealed in the foreword), comes across in lines like this: "Soon, though, other people--men--came to visit her and she started to do very grown-up things. He did not fit in, and when life with his mother became too difficult, he went to live with his grandmother." Although this presence may be irritating to some readers, the details of a remembered time on a farm with wonderfully strong women should appeal to all. (Ages 8 to 12) --Emilie Coulter