Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk by Glenda Millard illustrated by Stephen Michael King

the skill of capturing a tender moment is the most wonderful thing…. It is more like magic than almost anything else in the universe, except perhaps reading hearts or books or seeing things that other people cannot.” Nell, grandmother of the Silk family has this gift – the skill of capturing tender moments.

At the naming ceremony for Saffron everyone hopes the pages of her book will be filled with tiny tender moments “those that make the soul tipsy with ordinary happiness.”

From the first pages of this next installment in the lives of the Silk family, Glenda Millard gently weaves her magic reminding her readers about the hopes and wishes of each member of the Silk family as we have come to know them through five previous books. Saffron is the fifth rainbow girl. She is a lover of history and individuality. Each of the children in this family have special talents. In The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk Glenda Millard gives us a close look at Saffron but something has gone wrong. She has been seeing firebirds but has not yet told anyone. Then one day, as they are all gathered together baking apple pies, Saffron collapses.

Each family member expresses concern in his or her own unique way as Saffron is taken to the Doctor Larsson – the wise local GP. Griffin confides his fears to Layla and as usual she is able to reassure him. Layla is good at asking questions and as Griffin reflects “questions are tools for discovering the truth. They can be used like a sledgehammer to smash things open, or like a candle to lighten the dark.”

Saffron needs to go into the city for tests at a hospital. It is Perry who gives the two most precious gifts of all along with something truly magical from Nell.

If you have not yet met the Silk family you should walk quietly into your nearest library and seek them out. Begin with The naming of Tishkin Silk, and follow this with Layla Queen of Hearts, Perry Angel’s suitcase, All the colours of Paradise and finally Plum Puddings and Paper Moons.

As I jumped off a city bus yesterday I spied a bookshop across the street. I quickly crossed the road, headed down to the children’s section, scanned the shelves and pulled out a copy of The Tender moments of Saffron Silk. because I had discovered there was a new title in this series. I began reading over lunch, read all the way home on the bus and then sat up late into the night. The writing of Glenda Millard is so special it feels like nourishment for my soul.

Here are some teaching notes.

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