Sicily Bridges lives at 48 Grasshopper Estates, a place with no grasshoppers and, come to think of it, no grass either. But Sicily is very good at making things and so she sits down on the front stoop and makes a grasshopper. Every morning Sicily makes lists of the things she wants to make: a unicorn castle, a seven-tailed dragon, a spaceship. Mrs. Rubenstein, her next door neighbor-caregiver always says “excellent choice,” and Sicily’s creations always turn out. Well, sort of.
One day Sicily adds “a friend” to her making list. She spends the day making an assortment of creative friends. As Sicily looks at these friends lying on her bed, she knows exactly what to do. She knocks on the doors of 48 Grasshopper Estates, delivering friends to her neighbors. Mr. Corban’s perfect fit is a friend with suspenders. Miss Stavropoulos’ friend has a yellow hat. Soon all Sicily’s neighbours have new friends.
But back in her apartment, Sicily feels an empty sadness. Just then there is a knock on her door.
De Waal’s narrative captures and invites the imagination of any child. Dig through the recycling for a paper cup, a milk carton or a cereal box. Add some string, ribbon, and buttons or bits found outside. Make a train or a ship, an animal or person. Anything is possible. For inspiration, check out de Waal’s website, saradewaal.com.
De Waal’s story is well supported by Erica Medina’s illustrations, which bring the culturally diverse and intergenerational Grasshopper Estates neighborhood to life. This is sure to be a read and re-read for children aged 3 to 10 and beyond.
This is a first picture book for De Waal, who also recently won a prestigious Canadian literary award, The Bridge Prize, for her short story “Cecilia and Richard.” De Waal, a primary music teacher at Surrey Christian School in Surrey, B.C., Canada, calls the CRC in which she grew up her church home. (Annick Press)