Friday, April 19, 2013

The Old Woman Who Named Things - Cynthia Rylant

Summary:  How does an old woman who has outlived all her friends keep from being lonely? By naming the things in her life she knows she will never outlive--like her house, Franklin, and her bed, Roxanne. When a shy brown puppy appears at her front gate, the old woman won’t name it, because it might not outlive her. Tender watercolors capture the charm of this heartwarming story of an old woman who doesn’t know she’s lonely until she meets a plucky puppy who needs a name--and someone to love.  (Summary from and image from

My Review: This is a book I brought home to my girls based on my love of the author, not necessarily knowing much about the book.  While it isn't my favorite of Cynthia Rylant's work (The Relatives Came is my favorite), it is a sweet story.

This poor old woman has outlived everyone she holds dear.  And because of this, she is starting to close herself off from the world to prevent more pain.  While this makes sense logically, emotionally it stunts her growth--I believe we can still grow even in later life--and leaves her with a void she didn't know she had.  That is, until a puppy comes and changes everything.  She tries her best to keep him at a distance, but this little puppy worms his way in and takes a place in her heart to call his own.  It isn't until the puppy doesn't come back that the woman realizes she was foolish to push the puppy away.  It is then that she decides to go find her new friend.  This is where the lesson about love becomes clear.  That's all I'll say, as I'd rather you read it and draw your own conclusion. 

Rating: 4 Stars

Sum it up:  A book that can open up the conversation about how to deal with loss.

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