Title: Annie and the Old OneAnnie and the Old One
Author: Miska Miles
Illustrator: Peter Parnall
Pages: 44
Reading Level: Beginner
Star Rating: ★★★

When Annie’s grandmother announces to the family that she will die when the weaving of the new harvest rug is complete, Annie is distraught – and cannot understand why her mother continues to weave. For after all, each new layer of thread seals grandmother’s fate and brings her one strand closer to death. Surely mother cannot wish for grandmother to die!

Anne decides to do everything possible to halt the weaving of the rug. She begins misbehaving at school to distract her mother from weaving, she lets the family’s flock of sheep loose so time will be spent looking for them, and finally she begins waking up in the middle of the night and undoing part of the rug.

It becomes obvious to everyone what is happening with Annie, so grandmother takes Annie aside and gently instructs her on times and seasons – that there is a season when every person must die and that nothing can be done to avert the finality of death. The story ends as Annie begins to come to grips with this sad truth and finally agrees to learn how to weave herself.

Discussion.

Annie’s grandmother is called an ‘old one’, one who is more in tune with the ways of nature and the language of the Earth. She mysteriously announces that she will return to the Earth at the end of the season on page 15 and on the next page Annie’s mother explains to her that “Your grandmother is one of those who live in harmony with all nature – with earth, coyote, birds in the sky. They know more than many will ever learn. Those Old Ones know.” [pg. 16]

Conclusion. A good theme – I would have preferred it without the mystical one-with-nature stuff, but still alright.

Review © 2015 Laura Verret

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