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The Resource The keeper of the doves, by Betsy Byars

The keeper of the doves, by Betsy Byars

Label
The keeper of the doves
Title
The keeper of the doves
Statement of responsibility
by Betsy Byars
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
In the late 1800s in Kentucky, Amie McBee and her four sisters both fear and torment the reclusive and seemingly sinister Mr. Tominski, but their father continues to provide for his needs
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • /*Starred Review*/ Gr. 5-8. In this spare story young Amen McBee confronts birth and death and tries to reconcile the enigmatic behavior of human beings and the shifting realities that comprise life. Her father wants a son, but Amie is the youngest of five daughters who include “the Bellas,” the inseparable, identical twins, Arabella and Annabella. In the quiet world of the late 1800s, unusual things demand attention, and one of those is a Kodak camera. Amie takes a picture of Mr. Tomanski, a reclusive Polish immigrant who lives on the family estate. The mysterious old man once saved Amie’s father from death, but he can be strange and frightening. The Bellas use him as a bogey man, but Amie has seen him with his doves and knows he has a gentler side. When the family dog is killed, the Bellas have good reason to believe Mr. Tomanski is to blame. For Amen, the issue is more poignant, more complex. The events of the story, which occasionally seem abruptly handled, are secondary to the mood Byars creates in short, short chapters in which every word is important. Amie’s own love of words is central to the story, and the word pictures, both Byars’ and Amie’s, are so light they almost float--like the doves Mr. Tomanski lets loose in the air. (Reviewed October 1, 2002) -- Ilene Cooper
  • Gr 3-6–In 26 short chapters, this well-formed, introspective novel chronicles Amie McBee's life from her birth in 1891 until a pivotal summer eight years later. Throughout her childhood the awful Bellas, her older twin sisters, tell scary stories and make fun of the mysterious Mr. Tominski, who saved their father's life and, in return, is allowed to live in the old chapel behind the house. But Amie, a bright, observant child, is convinced that the "Keeper of the Doves" is no more than a harmless, gentle recluse. In a memorable scene, she and her grandmother secretly observe Mr. Tominski with his birds, and her grandmother says, "The man is a dove magician." Byars has a gift for writing dialogue, and here she uses a spare, almost poetic style to craft an accessible story that grapples with life-altering issues. And because Amie is an aspiring poet, the story is also about the creative process, with examples of her poetry woven into the text. The thematic elements interplay in perfect symmetry; when older sister Augusta recites the names of garden flowers in alphabetical order, she echoes the alphabet structure of the chapters. All of the characters are vividly portrayed, from feisty and frank Grandmama to stern Aunt Pauline, who has a "deep respect for bad luck." Even the awful Bellas provide some comic relief while revealing just how malicious human nature can be. The effective foreshadowing of a death provides dramatic tension throughout the narrative, and the surprising climax presents provocative questions about judging others and the nature of truth.–Caroline Ward, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT (Reviewed October 1, 2002) (School Library Journal, vol 48, issue 10, p158)
  • /* Starred Review */ Byars (Summer of the Swans) organizes this jewel-like novel into 26 brief chapters, each beginning with a letter of the alphabet, and often resting upon a single image. Amen ("Amie") McBee, born in 1891 and the fifth daughter of a fragile mother and a father who ardently wishes for a son, searches for her place in the family and discovers a talent of her own. — Staff (Reviewed August 19, 2002) (Publishers Weekly, vol 249, issue 33, p90)
  • Amen, called Amie—so named because her father was still praying for a son after four daughters—is the winsome narrator, beginning at age six, of this gentle and thoughtful story. Amie loves words, loves to learn them, and loves to ponder what they mean in the context of her family at The Willows at the turn of the last century. Mama keeps mostly to her room, Papa is a stern, but loving Victorian paterfamilias, and Aunt Pauline is repressed and obnoxious. The twin Bellas, Arabella and Annabella, are the sisters closest in age to Amie, and they see the world aslant. Nearby lives a recluse named Mr. Tominski, whom Papa supplies with food and cares for in other ways, but the girls fear him even though all he seems to do is take care of a flock of doves. Grandmama comes to visit, and teaches the girls how to use a camera; Uncle William comes to visit, and tells them about the stars. A new baby brother is born. Their beloved dog Scout dies. Amie introduces her little brother to the grave of the sister who died after only ten days and the house gets electricity. Amie tries to use all the lovely new words she learns in poems to hold and express all of her tumultuous feelings about these events, especially the sad, unnecessary death of Mr. Tominski, whose story the family learns only after it's too late. The lives of a well-to-do turn-of-the-century family are limned with attention to daily activities and daily joys and sorrows in a prose that ripples with clarity and sweetness and an underlying evolution of spirit. (Fiction. 8-12) (Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2002)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
102817
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1928-2020
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Byars, Betsy Cromer
Dewey number
[Fic]
Index
no index present
Intended audience
590
Intended audience source
Lexile
LC call number
PZ7.B98396
LC item number
Ke 2002
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 5
  • 8
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Sisters
  • Family life
  • Recluses
  • Kentucky
Target audience
pre adolescent
Label
The keeper of the doves, by Betsy Byars
Instantiates
Publication
Dimensions
18 cm.
Extent
121 p.
Isbn
9780670035762
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2002009283
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780670035762
  • (OCoLC)50034845
Label
The keeper of the doves, by Betsy Byars
Publication
Dimensions
18 cm.
Extent
121 p.
Isbn
9780670035762
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2002009283
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780670035762
  • (OCoLC)50034845

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      85 Literary Lane, Newnan, GA, 30265, US
      33.38561 -84.669793
    • Senoia BranchBorrow it
      148 Pylant Street, Senoia, GA, 30276, US
      33.297709 -84.561283
    • Grantville BranchBorrow it
      100 Park Drive, Grantville, GA, 30220, US
      33.2371000 -84.835615

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