The Silver Nutmeg
The Story of Anna Lavinia and Toby
By Palmer Brown
(NYR Children's Collection, Hardcover, 9781590175002, 152pp.)
Publication Date: April 10, 2012
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Anna Lavinia’s father wanted her to have another point of view, so what did he do? He made a peephole in the garden wall. But he couldn’t have known that this new view would lead Anna Lavinia all the way to the upside-down mirror land that lies on the other side of the pond. Here Anna Lavinia meets Toby, who explains that on the other side, instead of gravity, there’s something called “the tingle,” which feels like “the tickle that comes before a sneeze, or the thrill that comes when the knot in a ribbon just begins to loosen,” and allows for floating and spectacular feats of tree-climbing (but mind your furniture doesn’t drift away!). Toby introduces Anna Lavinia to a variety of wonders and oddballs, including an uncanny fortune-teller, a turtle with a jungle on its back, and Aunt Cornelia, who’s never quite recovered from the disappearance of a certain young man into Anna Lavinia’s world a very long time ago.
The Silver Nutmeg continues the adventures begun in Beyond the Pawpaw Trees, and features loads of sense, a little nonsense, and more charming verses from Anna Lavinia’s favorite book of rhymes. Best of all, fans of Palmer Brown’s intricate drawings will find every page a delight for the eyes
Palmer Brown (1920-2012) was born in Chicago and attended Swarthmore and the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author and illustrator of five books for children, including Beyond the Pawpaw Trees and its sequel, The Silver Nutmeg; Cheerful; and Hickory. About Beyond the Pawpaw Trees, his first published book, Brown said: “If it has any moral at all, it is hoped that it will always be a deep secret between the author and those of his readers who still know that believing is seeing.”
“This is a book more for boys than for girls, but boys how like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ will probably find this enjoyable. It is about Anna Lavinia (the girl in ‘Beyond the PawPaw Trees’) whose father thought she needed broader horizons. So he tore down their garden wall to accomplish this. Lavinia meets a boy who named Tobey and together they romp in his land of no gravity. The illustrations are delicate; the text is imaginative and poetic. This is a book for the child who loves fantasy” – Boston Globe
A companion volume to Beyond the Pawpaw Trees
Praise for Beyond the Pawpaw Trees:
“Brilliant . . . it may prove the special treasure of many.” —New York Herald Tribune
“A fantasy for girls who have lively imaginations. Anna Lavinia’s adventures will be appreciated by them and they will take the trip with her.” —Saturday Review