Departure Time

by Truus Matti

A girl is stranded at a run-down hotel that has an unusual proprietor: a solicitous... read more

A girl is stranded at a run-down hotel that has an unusual proprietor: a solicitous fox that’s alternately assisted and hampered by a rat with big plans and inconsistent follow-through. She can’t quite remember the details of her life and her hosts aren’t offering answers. As the girl explores the hotel—seeking the source of the song that someone is playing endlessly on a piano—she gets flashes of insight to who she is and why she’s there, but she can’t comprehend their meaning. An unusual and intriguing fantasy alternates chapters about the girl’s experiences at the hotel with chapters grounded in the real world. In these, a girl on the eve of her eleventh birthday is struggling with grief over her father’s death the year before. She’s also burdened by guilt. A traveling musician, her father hadn’t made it home for her tenth birthday as he’d promised he would, and the last letter she sent him was full of anger and condemnation, as well as the crumpled remnants of a story they’d been writing together about a girl, a fox, and a rat. Truus Matti defly moves back and forth between two narratives intricately connected on an emotional plane, as well as through mirrored characters, as she examines the healing power of forgiveness in a story featuring characters, both human and animal, that are entertaining and full of appeal. (Ages 9–13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2011

show less