Pearl Verses the World
by Sally Murphy
ill. Heather Potter
intermediate novel in verse
Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2011
Young Pearl is trying to cope with many things at one time. At school she is lonely and friendless, "a group of one". Her teacher is constantly demanding poetry that rhymes, but how can Pearl do that when there is no rhyme or reason in her life. At home she is lonely and sad. Her beloved grandmother who has always been part of her life is ill and doesn't even know Pearl anymore. Her mom is busy caring for Granny or losing herself in a book leaving no time to help Pearl. Then one day she is summoned to the principal's office - what has she done? As things culminate Pearl realizes she isn't as friendless as she once was. She also begins to come to terms with the loss of Granny, realizing that although she isn't there physically, her memories surround Pearl and she will never forget the wise woman who helped raise her. Sally Murphy does a beautiful job of expressing emotions in this short free-verse novel. As I read, I wanted to reach out and hug Pearl and let her know she wasn't alone! This is a perfect book to help elementary school kids cope with the illness and death of a grandparent.