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True Colors by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock
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I frequently buy books based on their covers. I feel no shame about this. That, after all, is what covers are for; to attract readers, to hook them on the book. I pride myself on knowing what covers will grab kids' attention and convince them to pick up a book. I can't always tell you how I know a cover will work, but when I first saw this one I knew it would. Something about the colors, the girl's stance, and the animals and I could tell you

This is historical fiction
Set in a small town, probably in the rural south and the girl will have some kind of quirky name
The girl has probably lost her parents but might just have family issues
A certain subset of 9-12 year old girls will fight to grab it off the shelf.
When I received a review copy, I quickly discovered that I was right on all counts except the geography - it's Vermont. The story is set in the 1950s, Blue, the main character, was a foundling and wants to know what happened to her mother, and the copy I bought for the library has been flying off the shelf all summer.

Is the story cliched? Heck yeah. You've got the girl with the quirky name, in a small town where everybody knows each other but they're hiding secrets. Blue's adoptive guardian isn't demonstrative but you know by the end she's going to realize how much she loves her. There's even the stereotyped "simple" man that animals naturally love and who is so gentle he never fights back, even against the stereotypically bad boys whose nasty father never stops their cruelty. There's the required natural disaster and the grand denouement, when Blue realizes that all the family she wants is right there in town.

Is there anything wrong with this? Nope. Well, except for the "brain-damaged/simple people are naturally good with animals and will never hurt anyone" stereotype, which really, really annoys me. The point is that that's why kids, and people, love genre fiction. You know what to expect and it's comforting to fall into the familiar tropes of the story. Just because it's not unique and doesn't have any unexpected twists (I'm not talking about the "big secret" at the end of the story - that's part of the expected tropes) doesn't mean it's not well-written, interesting, and fun to read.

Verdict: I long ago outgrew this particular genre and was never a big fan to start with, but as I said earlier, there are plenty of kids who will eat it up. This is a pretty good example of the genre and would make an excellent addition to any library.

ISBN: 9780375860997; Published 2012 by Alfred A. Knopf/Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher; Purchased for the library
  JeanLittleLibrary | Aug 25, 2013 |
Author: Natalie Kinsey-Warnock
Published By: Random House Children's Books
Age Recommended: 8+
Reviewer: Arlena Dean
Raven Rating: 5
Blog For GMTA


"True Colors" by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock was a very good novel for the young readers and I (adult) enjoyed it also. This author did a wonderful job with "True Colors." Be ready for a lot of secrets that will come out.

True Colors" was of a girl named Blue...she had been left wrapped in a quilt in a 'copper kettle that Hannah Spooner grew her marigolds in." This just happened to be the day that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December, 1941. A sweet lady named Hannah(who was elderly) ...took in Blue and she was raised as her very own. As Blue grew older she spent a lots of her time delivering to homes baked items that Hannah sold to the town people. Now, Blue had began to wonder just who she really was..where was her mother? Why had her mother left her in a copper kettle? What if Hannah hadn't found her? Now, this is when I say you must simply pick up the novel to see how Blue in "True Colors" will come out in all of this novel.

There will be a lots of drama that will be in "True Colors." Get ready.... to see how this best friend named Nadine treats Blue......but was she really a friend? Who was divorcing, stealing, setting fires, writing a column for the town's newspaper and the animals that Raleigh had saved. What is going on?

The characters were simply wonderful ... all of them and their were many...Blue, Hannah, Nadine, Keith Mr. and Mrs. Tilton, Mr. Gilpin, Dennis & Wesley Wright, Mr. Wright, Raleigh, Mr. and Mrs. Appleby, Mrs. Gray, Mr.Hazelton, Raymond Lapointe, Mrs. Wells, Mr. Roy Allard, Mrs. Willson, Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. Paisley, Esther, Mrs. Barclay, Mr. and Mrs. Potter only to name a few..because I am sure I have left someone out. Each of these characters really added to the storyline. Will Blue find what she has wanted to know all of her life...what secrets did Hannah have? What had happened to Myrtle Rose? ..again you must pick up "True Colors" to find out. You will not be disappointed because this is a wonderful well written read.

If you are in for a good solid read... "True Color" is definitely a good read to pick up to read. I would recommend this one to the young person for a good read. ( )
  arlenadean | Jul 27, 2012 |
Richie’s Picks: TRUE COLORS by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, Knopf, November 2012, 242p., ISBN: 978-0-375-86099-7

“Don’t forget your family, they are what becomes you”
-- Joanne Rand, “Family History”

“Hannah and I covered the tomato and cucumber plants. As we worked, I saw Cat watching us.
“’She’ll be cold tonight,’ I said. ‘Maybe I could make her some sort of bed.’
“’She’ll be warm enough in the barn,’ Hannah said, but when she saw me biting my lip the way I always do when I’m worried, she smiled.
“’I’m sure you can find some old thing in my closet that she can sleep on,’ she said.
“Before I left for Nadine’s, I rummaged around until I found just what I wanted, a small patchwork quilt, blue with little white daisies printed on it. It was torn, and frayed at the edges, but I didn’t think Cat would mind.
“Hannah’s mouth formed a little O when I showed it to her.
“’I won’t use it if you don’t want me to,’ I said.
“’No, it’s not that,’ Hannah said. ‘It’s just, well, that’s the quilt you were wrapped in when I found you.’”

Even though the story is set but a few years before I was born, the fact that TRUE COLORS is set on a modest farm in small-town Vermont accentuates the feeling of our being immersed in a time and place long forgotten. This tale of a young foundling girl’s coming of age is all about finding family, nurturing friendships, cherishing story, and loving language. Reading it just a couple of days after once again visiting the sanctuary of my childhood – my grandparent’s home that was sold four decades ago after their passing – heightens the nostalgia I feel through this read and impresses upon me the value for children to learn through story how it is essential to embrace our precious family ties as we develop our autonomy.

Blue was a newborn baby who had been left wrapped in that old patchwork quilt and plopped into the old “copper kettle that Hannah Spooner grew her marigolds in.” This had taken place on the same day that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941. The elderly Hannah, who has always been there for everyone in the community, took Blue in, and raised her as her own.

Now, in 1952, Blue has grown to be an industrious young girl who spends her spare time delivering the tasty home baked goods that Hannah sells to the townsfolk. The community, busily preparing for its sesquicentennial celebration, is steeped in old town stories. And Blue, who is now itching to learn about her own origins, will discover this to be a summer of significant changes and revelations. Her life-long summer friend Nadine, a year older, has done some serious growing over the past year and the two friends are repeatedly at odds as they navigate the new currents in their lives. Blue is also developing a sense of fairness that is heightened by her witnessing the misbehavior of the local young hooligans – the Wright brothers; the ill-treatment bestowed upon Raleigh True, a town resident who was left brain-damaged by some sort of accident that happened before Blue’s time; and the appearance of a cat that has been abandoned near Hannah’s farm.

“’How could someone just leave her?’ I asked. It was the same question I wanted to ask the woman who’d left me in Hannah’s kettle ten and a half years ago.
“’Some folks don’t think of anything but themselves,’ Hannah said. ‘There’s lots of glundies in the world.’
“Glundie is another word for ‘fool.’ So are gowk, coof, dobbie, and tattie. Tattie also means ‘potatoes,’ and we had ‘tatties and neeps’ many nights for supper. Neeps are turnips. I didn’t care for turnips, and neither did Nadine, but she loved saying ‘tatties and neeps.’ Nadine loved Hannah’s Scottish words (‘She’s even better than “It pays to Increase Your Word Power,”’ Nadine said), and she’d giggle every morning when, instead of calling us ‘lazy-bones,’ Hannah would holler up the stairs, ‘Up, you two snoofmadrunes!’ I liked Scottish words, too. Maybe it was because I didn’t have to spell them.”

As you can see, this story is also sure to help develop some young logophiles, as it reveals the precious nature of family and friendship.

Richie Partington
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com
Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_school_lit/ http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/people/faculty/partingtonr/partingtonr.php ( )
  richiespicks | Jul 14, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375860991, Hardcover)

Natalie Kinsey-Warnock's beautifully told, warm hearted novel tells the story of one girl's journey to find the mother she never had, set against the period backdrop of a small farming town in 1950s Vermont. For her entire life, 10-year-old Blue has never known her mother. On a cold, wintry day in December of 1941, she was found wrapped in a quilt, stuffed in a kettle near the home of Hannah Spooner, an older townswoman known for her generosity and caring. Life with Hannah so far has been simple—mornings spent milking cows, afternoons spent gardening and plowing the fields on their farm. But Blue finds it hard not to daydream about her mother, and over the course of one summer, she resolves to finally find out who she is. That means searching through the back issues of the local newspaper, questioning the local townspeople, and searching for clues wherever she can find them. Her search leads her down a road of self-discovery that will change her life forever.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:08 -0400)

In 1952 Vermont, ten-year-old Blue decides to set out in the middle of her town's sesquicentennial celebration to find the mother who abandoned her as a baby, but a series of events reminds her that she already has everything she needs.

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