Annie And The Old One - Miska Miles (1971)

ISBN 10 : 11274 99599
ISBN 13: 978 11274 99595

       (Newbery Honor - 1972, 

         California Book Awards, Juvenile, Silver  - 1971, 

         Christopher Award Winner -1972)

Beginning of the End

          "Whatever, that comes from the Earth, goes back to the Earth in the end". Is there any other precise way, to explain the inevitable death and to talk about the harmony of our world, to a child?

           Annie's little world of mesa, in the land of Navajo, is filled with her mother's weaving loom, her father's jewel-making fire and her grandmother's profound love and intimacy. Though insisted, Annie has not started to weave yet. When her mother starts to weave a new rug, the grandmother tells them that when the rug is finished, she would go to Mother Earth. The grandma, living in perfect harmony with the nature, can know of her death early.

           Now, Annie wants to stop her grandma's death, by stalling her mother from weaving the rug, using various tactics. Is it possible for Annie to understand that no one can hold time? Does her grandma succeed in making her to understand "Whatever that comes from Earth, goes back to the Earth"? 

      Illustrated By : Peter Parnall

        Published By : Little, Brown and Company

        Number of Pages : 44

        Classification : Emotional (Understanding Death), Relation ( Grandmother)

        Age : Grades 1 to 5

My Comment:
      Death is a tough topic, which I stumble upon, whenever I need to explain to my kids. But thanks to this book, I am able to lighten the feeling about death, when they touch this inevitable topic. Also, the circle (from earth - to earth), has opened up further conversations with my elder one, about the symmetry of life.

            This perceptive story, accompanied with clear narration, works on multiple levels, developing various emotions and analogies, along the way. The fondness between the granddaughter and the grandmother, portrayed in both childish and mature way, is lovely. The analogy between death and the "sunrise-sunset" and the "cactus bloom" are spell bounding. The peek through the world of Navajo, adds to the intricateness of the story.

             The illustrations (by Peter Parnall), with less colors, has made a firm background for the story, and eases the visualisation of hogan and mesa, of Navajo. Also, from the story, I wondered about the elder one's knowledge about life. It is true that our prior generations have a better harmony with nature. Maybe, it is us, who is moving away from this articulation.

Good Books cannot be confined to one single blog. That's why I keep them here too. Click and follow:


  1. Oh, this is a deep topic and I love your review. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


Please share your thoughts with me