by Odo Hirsch
First sentence: “Darius Bell walked through the grass.”
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Review copy provided by the publisher.
The Bell ancestors were showered with gifts for various heroic (and other) deeds. In return, once a generation they are required to present the town with a Gift. It doesn’t have to be spectacular, but they always are: a statue, a fountain, stained glass. However, it’s time again, and this time the Bells are broke. See, after all the inheritance, no one bothered to work. And while they have a situation with their land and mansion — people who live there and agree to do some upkeep and housekeeping and cooking in exchange for room and board — they have no money left for a gift.
Enter Darius. He’s just a kid, and his parents and older brother seem to think that he really doesn’t need to be a part of the whole gift thing. But after a random earthquake, he discovers something wonderful (not useful or even worth anything) that would be absolutely perfect for the gift. And all it takes is a little coordination to get it done.
It’s a perfectly sweet little book. Nothing grand or great or horrid or earth shattering. It’s a pleasant story, in a pleasant little town, and although there are worries, they are Overcome in a pleasant little way. It’s a reminder to enjoy the simple things in life, and to look beyond the Grand and the Great. And that not-so-big people can do big things, too.
All served with a smile and a slice of cake.
(Just for the record: because this is a Cybils nominee, I’ve been asked to make sure y’all know this is my opinion only, and not that of the panel.)