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Reviewed by Tiffany Ferrell for Readers' Favorite
In The Tale Of Meadow Grove by Lynn D. Wheeler, we are introduced to five-year-old twins named Chloe and Emma. They don’t live in a safe house and the only time they can be free to act like children is through their imaginations. This helps them not to fear the mean Mr. Jingles who comes in the night. In a place they call their secret backyard land, where the girls take refuge every night, they are greeted by animals and new adventures. Chloe and Emma are at peace in this land full of tigers, elephants, snakes, and ostriches. They want the animals to follow them into their real world, which is a scary and dark place. The animals tell them that they can’t leave their land, but will think of the twins when things start to get bad.
This is such a powerful children’s book that will be entertaining for kids, but also has a very strong message that can be interpreted in several ways. To me, it sounds as if the kids are in an abusive household and the scary Mr. Jingles could be their father or their mother's boyfriend. It could also be that they are afraid of the jingle from his keys when he comes home late at night because he’s probably intoxicated and they fear that he will hurt them if he catches them awake. In households like this, it’s very common for kids to dissociate and live in their heads since their reality is so traumatic. I feel that some children will relate to these two girls on a deeper level than others. Some kids will see it as a magical adventure with a big scary monster, and others will feel it echoes their sad home life. The illustrations capture this tale perfectly and they are beautifully executed. Lynn D. Wheeler has written an amazing and powerful story in The Tale Of Meadow Grove and I can’t wait to read what she writes next.