Synopses & Reviews
Bee is an orphan who lives with a carnival and sleeps in the back of a tractor trailer. Every day she endures taunts for the birthmark on her face—though her beloved Pauline, the only person who has ever cared for her, tells her it is a precious diamond. When Pauline is sent to work for another carnival, Bee is lost.
Then a scruffy dog shows up, as unwanted as she, and Bee realizes that she must find a home for them both. She runs off to a house with gingerbread trim that reminds her of frosting. There two mysterious women, Mrs. Swift and Mrs. Potter, take her in. They clothe her, though their clothes are strangely out of date. They feed her, though there is nothing in their house to eat. They help her go to school, though they won't enter the building themselves. And, strangely, only Bee seems able to see them.
Whoever these women are, they matter. They matter to Bee. And they are helping Bee realize that she, too, matters to the world--if only she will let herself be a part of it.
This tender novel beautifully captures the pain of isolation, the healing power of community, and the strength of the human spirit.
"Eleven-year-old Bee is sensitive about the prominent diamond-shaped birthmark on her face, which she hides with her hair. Ever since her parents' death, Bee been raised at a traveling carnival, working the hot dog stand with a young woman named Pauline (between chopping onions and cruel comments from fairgoers about her face, Bee spends much of the book's early chapters sobbing). When Bee's future with Pauline is jeopardized, Bee runs away ('I do not have much of a plan except we need a home that will take a girl with a diamond on her face, a funny-looking dog... and a baby pig'). Two strange women, Mrs. Swift and Mrs. Potter, take her in, and Bee's life improves dramatically, but her 'aunts' barely eat, and no one else can see them. Fusco (The Wonder of Charlie Anne) has a strong handle on her WWII-era setting, and she delicately describes the stress of being viewed as different. But while Bee has suffered mightily, the magic- and coincidence-driven events of the second half result in an ending that's too good to be true. Ages 8 12." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
KIMBERLY NEWTON FUSCO is the author of The Wonder of Charlie Anne and Tending to Grace, both of which received multiple starred reviews.