Troon Harrison. Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandez.
Grades 1 - 4 / Ages 6 - 9.
Grades 1 - 4 / Ages 6 - 9.
For the past 10 years, Lavender Moon has worked hard cooking and serving food at her roadside cafe. Three times a week the late-night bus stops there. Lavender has never seen the places the bus comes from, nor does she know its destination.
She decides to quit her job. As luck would have it, the bus driver has had enough of his job, too. They exchange keys, trade places, and Lavender gets behind the wheel of the bus on the road to adventure.
She stops whenever the spirit moves her, delighting in the typical childhood activities - riding a carousel, watching a fireworks display, diving cannon-ball style into a lake - which she has missed while running her cafe. Finally, she reaches the ocean where she thinks she will be happy.
She buys a house and spends her days painting pictures and surfing. At summer's end, when it is too wet to paint and too rough to surf, Lavender gets lonely. Remembering her cafe and the compliments she once received for her cooking, she decides to convert her bus into a travelling cafe cum art showcase for her paintings.
Lavender paints, surfs and drives the bus along the coast, stopping wherever the view is best. With her new job, Lavender now has the best of both worlds - the travel and the flexible hours appeal to her sense of wanderlust, and meeting new people along the way eases her loneliness.
In this story, Lavender Moon has done what many of us wish we could do - pack up our belongings and follow the open road in our quest for adventure and recapturing the essence of childhood.
Harrison's simply-written story and Fernandez's outstanding illustrations engage the reader from start to finish. The illustrations, rendered in gouache, oil pastels and colored pencils, convey Lavender's changing moods. At the beginning of the story, deep shades of purple, grey and blue reflect the mysteriousness of the bus's unknown destinations. When Lavender leaves the cafe to pursue her dreams, the colours change to bright hues of vivid blues, gold, green and orange. The moon motif and the colour lavender appear throughout the book, tying the theme together.
With its universal message of the importance of following your dreams, this lovely book is a surefire winner.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Manitoba Library Association
TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - DECEMBER 12, 1997.
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