The Golden Plate

illus. by Bernadette Watts. 32p. NorthSouth Bks. 2014. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780735841758.
K-Gr 3—Elisabeth and Isobel are good friends, who play often with Elisabeth's Doll's House. The large structure has many rooms, lovely furniture, and even a staircase. While they are playing, Isobel notices the golden plate hanging over the stove, puts it in her pocket, and leaves. But the plate looks out of place in her own small Doll's House, which is actually made from converted book shelves. Inability to eat, sleep, or even enjoy a sunny afternoon the next day finally brings Isobel to confide to her mom what she's done. Elisabeth's mother helps her tell Elisabeth the truth. Watts's charming, detailed illustrations evoke a bygone era in a European village. Women walk with children pulling toys, and seniors stroll leisurely along quiet sidewalks. A cuckoo clock hangs above a table laden with a substantial afternoon tea in Isobel's kitchen. Yet the idyllic atmosphere is broken by Isobel's mounting guilt, from the moment she trudges home, head bowed, with the plate feeling "heavy in her pocket" to her loss of appetite and sleep and even to her anguished expression as the golden sunflowers in the garden seem to mock her.
VERDICT This fine story can initiate a discussion about the possible consequences of wrongdoing and the relief that can come from setting things right.

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