From Pajama Press:
Sixth grade is coming to an end, and so is life as Macy McMillan knows it. Already a “For Sale” sign mars the front lawn of her beloved house. Soon her mother will upend their perfect little family, adding a stepfather and six-year-old twin stepsisters. To add insult to injury, what is Macy’s final sixth grade assignment? A genealogy project. Well, she’ll put it off—just like those wedding centerpieces she’s supposed to be making. Just when Macy’s mother ought to be understanding, she sends Macy next door to help eighty-six-year-old Iris Gillan, who is also getting ready to move—in her case into an assisted living facility. Iris can’t pack a single box on her own and, worse, she doesn’t know sign language. How is Macy supposed to understand her? But Iris has stories to tell, and she isn’t going to let Macy’s deafness stop her. Soon, through notes and books and cookies, a friendship grows. And this friendship, odd and unexpected, may be just what Macy needs to face the changes in her life.
Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess by Shari Green is a heartwarming middle-grade novel told in free verse. Centred around the unlikely friendship between Macy and her elderly neighbour Iris, it’s a story about how sometimes people come into our lives just when we need them the most. Both Macy and Iris are facing big changes in their lives and together they help each other face their fears with humour, friendship, and a whole lot of love—and let’s not forget good books and delicious cookies!
Shari Green has an uncanny ability of writing about things dear to my heart. First it was the shore in Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles, and now it’s books and baking. I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.
There is so much to love about this story. The cast of characters are vibrant and interesting. The free-verse feels very fluid and natural, with well-placed metaphors that build on Macy’s voice and character. You really see the world through Macy’s eyes, how she draws comparisons between her garden’s flora and fauna and the world around her.
I really appreciated that Macy’s deafness is not the focus of this book; it’s a part of her story but not her whole story. While her hearing loss creates obstacles that hearing children might not have considered or ever had to deal with, Macy never felt “other” to me and I think it’s important for both readers with hearing and those without to see Macy as a kid first, dealing with fear, loneliness, and new experiences.
And Iris is just plain delightful. Her conversations with Macy always made me smile. She says something that I think everyone should take to heart: “If you love something, you should love it extravagantly.” What a lovely philosophy! I think I’m going to have that put on a pillow or something.
As sweet as one of Iris’s cookies, Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess is an absolutely charming story from start to finish that encourages cross-generation friendships and getting to know someone before making judgements. I highly recommend.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (5/5 hearts)
Bonus: Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess includes a recipe for Iris’s Sugar and Spice Cookies! So of course I had to try them out. I’m always a bit skeptical of recipes in the back of novels, as so often they’re more gimmicky than good, but these are delicious! The batter didn’t spread as much as I thought it would when baking so you can go for the extravagant-sized cookies without fear of them running together. And the batter works great for freezing. I baked half and put the rest in the freezer. Just let the batter thaw a bit and it’s once again perfect for scooping and rolling in the sugar coating. The cookies tasted just as wonderful done this way. But don’t take my word for it—whip up a batch yourself!