My daughter is a voracious reader which is why as a sixth grade student, she still receives books from beloved former teachers via the back packs of little brothers and sister. Recently, Miss S., a first grade teacher, sent home an interesting book titled Barkbelly with our youngest for my sixth grader to read. Since it was sitting on the counter after all the kids had rushed off to school, I picked it up and read the first page…and didn’t stop until about page 50 or so because the story picked me up and carried me away just like that.
Cat Wetherill is magnificent as an author and spinner of this yarn. Barkbelly, a wooden boy who begins life in an egg, is unknowingly dropped in a field and hatches into a old fashioned Grimm-like fairy tale world complete with an woodsmen and wife longing for a child, a quest, Dickensian factory work, a traveling circus and supernatural hedgehogs. As I read the story, I felt as though I was sitting at a campfire under the spell of a master story teller, keeping my eyes open so that I wouldn’t miss a single detail. What I didn’t expect in the fairy tale’s unfolding was a rather interesting and bumpy adoption tale.