At school, Pearl is a group of one, and at home her beloved granny is fading. A poignant gem of a tale about independence, grief, and finding your place.
Pearl likes to write poems, but despite the insistence of her teacher, Ms. Bruff, Pearl's poems don't rhyme, and neither does she. She wishes she could grow gills so she could stay underwater in swim class without drowning. And she hasn't a clue why perfect Prudence bumps her desk and sends her pencils flying. Pearl thinks there's no nicer sound than the bell at the end of the day, even though back at home, Granny, always a crucial part of their family of three, sometimes doesn't recognize Pearl, and Mom is tired from providing constant care. In a lyrical novel told with clear-eyed sympathy, humor, and heart, Sally Murphy follows a girl who holds fast to her individuality even as she learns to let go-- and in daring to share her voice, discovers that maybe she's not a group of one after all.
In this extended free-verse monologue, Pearl tells of her grandmother's last days and dementia-related death. The voice is unpretentious, and Murphy accords Pearl real dignity in her grief. Personality-rich pencil-and-ink drawings support the gentle tone. The book's comfort, the truth that bereavement changes relationships, and sometimes for the better, is at just the right pitch for Pearl and for her readers.