Review Blog

Sep 24 2019

The gift by Michael Speechley

cover image

Puffin, 2019. ISBN: 9780143788980.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Love, Loneliness, Gifts. When Rosie looks at the derelict house across the road, she feels that someone must live there. She sometimes sees a hand come out from behind the door to take in whatever is delivered on the front doorstep. She sometimes sees a shadow across a window, but the house is overgrown and unloved.
Rosie decides that she will leave a gift for the old woman in the house. Her mother, now dead, used to tell her to give a gift that was different, unusual and surprising. Rosie thinks about what to leave on the front door step. She thinks about a variety of things, rejecting them all, until she finally thinks of the perfect thing.
Her weed, carefully placed on the door step with a ribbon attached is taken in and when Rosie looks at the house in the morning, the weed is in a beautiful vase in the window. Rosie keeps leaving a weed on the doorstep, until one day she decides to knock on the door.
When she goes into the house, she is surprised that the woman is much younger than she thought, and her story will melt the hearts of the readers.
A bond is made, a connection secured which sees Rosie use her mother's plants to rebuild the woman's garden.
From a simple gift a friendship blooms, from a simple act of kindness two lives are enhanced, and the woman, a recluse, is helped back into the world, while Rosie is able to use her mother's plants for something her mother would have been very pleased to see.
Without being overly sentimental, this story will tug at the heart, its simplicity a lesson for us all, our eyes opened to the needs of those around us, offering an act of kindness which will engage the readers and encourage interaction.
Fran Knight

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