The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy

The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy
The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy

today’s children storybook summary is

The Patchwork Quilt

By Valerie Flournoy

Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Storyline: It is just about spring when a little girl, Tanya learns that her grandmother, who seems to be sick, is thinking to start a special project. Sitting in her chair by the window, with a heap of scraps from some old clothes belonging to all the family members, the old lady is considering making a new quilt, a patchwork quilt. Because, she explains to he granddaughter, the quilt that she has now was made long time ago by her mother and is now well-worn.

The little girl understands how important would be for her grandma to make a new patchwork quilt, but her mother seems totally unimpressed. After she gently scolds the old woman for making a mess where she had cleaned before, she also want to buy her a quilt from the department store.

Tanya offers to help her grandma with her project and the two of them diligently gather old torn clothes and other useless textiles and start patch them together. It is now autumn and their quilt were nowhere near the finish. As they worked together, they sewed on it left over scraps from Halloween and other family events.

As the winter came, the family members were worried to let grandma alone in the house and get about their business. But Tonya assures them that she isn’t alone. She has the quilt as a companion, they tell each other stories. That quilt, “our own family quilt” she says, “never forgets”.

It is at this point that the mother realized the importance of the patchwork quilt. From now on, the two women work together, assisted by the girl. At Christmas, the extended family gather around the rich decorated tree, singing, laughing and having a great time. Scraps from mama’s new golden dress, specially made for the Holliday, were set aside to be added to the quilt.

The next morning, Tanya finds out her grandma had fallen sick and the doctor was called to come at once.  When, days after, the girl was permitted to visit her, she finds that her grandmother did not believe she’ll ever finish her quilt.

But Tanya and her mother weren’t going to give up. Picking up where grandma left, they started to work on the quilt, cutting and stitching patches together, whenever they found the time. One day, as they lay out the half-finished work, the big brother joined them as well for a while.

Tanya worked every day after school, and soon she was the only one left to go on, when the other family members got too busy to help. One day, she felt that something was missing and after a short moment she tiptoed in her grandma’s room to cut few squares of the old quilt.

The quilt grew and grew, with nobody noticing how big it got. By summer, grandma had gotten better, and she was now up on her old chair, by the window. One day, Tanya found her working on the quilt again, and short after, she puts the finishing touches on it.

It was now ready. The whole family gather together around it, with each and everyone of them pointing at their own clothes stitched on the patchwork quilt. And each bit of fabric scrap had a story to it. That’s how grandma sawed the memories together. Like in a big album, everybody’s tale was displayed on the quilt. A special dedication for Tanya and her grandma was sewn in a corner.

Characters: Tanya, Grandmother, Mother, Jim

Illustration: The art work  of this book was done by Jerry Pinkney, an award-winning illustrator and author of children’s books. With a gentle brush, using soft tones, he creates memorable characters and settings. And it isn’t hard to notice that he had put as much time into illustrating the quilt throughout the book, as the characters themselves.

Recommended Age: 7 to 12

Reading Time: 16”

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