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- ISBN-13: 9780375860997
- ISBN-10: 0375860991
- Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: November 2012
- Page Count: 256
- Reading Level: Ages 8-12
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-10-29
- Reviewer: Staff
On the day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, a two-day-old newborn was left in a flowerpot outside a widow’s Vermont farm. Hannah Spooner named the baby for the color of her skin—blue at that moment—and raised her as her own. Ten years later, Blue narrates the myriad ways in which life disappoints her: endless chores, nagging questions about her parentage, and a loneliness so persistent she tells her troubles to an indifferent stray cat. Friends are so scarce that Blue looks forward to the return every summer of Nadine, a bratty city girl who treats Blue shabbily. The plot is wildly unbalanced: it takes a third of the novel to move beyond the workaday details of farm life; a rush of events overwhelms the last few chapters. Still, Kinsey-Warnock’s (Gifts from the Sea) story has its charms, and Blue’s eventual realization that it’s less important to know who abandoned her than it is to appreciate the woman who rescued her closes the narration on a loving note. A quiet country story for fans of Ruth White’s books. Ages 8–12. Agent: Gina Maccoby, Gina Maccoby Literary Agency. (Nov.)
Searching for a mother, finding herself
Blue, all three pounds of her, was discovered in a copper kettle in December 1941 and adopted by the generous and caring Hannah Spooner. Now Blue is going into fifth grade and spends many of her waking hours wondering about her birth mother. Was she Amelia Earhart? A movie star? Why did she desert Blue?
Set in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont against the faint backdrop of the Korean War, True Colors is a gentle page-turner, filled with secrets, mystery and history. Blue’s farm life is simple, if difficult: There are weeds to be pulled and cows to be milked. Blue is in charge of delivering the breads from Hannah’s small bakery and listening to the stories each recipient tells.
Blue is on the verge of puberty, but her best friend, Nadine, seems to have already grown up. It’s a confusing time, made more confusing by other changes. Why is Nadine’s father absent this summer? Why are the farm animals disappearing?
Natalie Kinsey-Warnock envelopes the reader in the world of the early 1950s, where divorce is a terrible scandal, being in trouble means making difficult choices and family secrets are respected by the community as private.
Blue’s 10-year-old voice is especially effective here. She has a lot to think about, but she sees the world clearly through her young eyes. True Colors is a real keeper.