Donut Sedgwick is an 11-year old geography buff who keeps her taxidermied mice and birds hidden in her late mother’s hope chest. Her pops has just died, leaving her an orphan. Aunt Agnes has moved in, bringing along her lumpy oatmeal, the click-clack of her knitting, and a plan to drag Donut off to Boston forever.
Donut stands to lose everything: her friends, her village, her home, and the woods and walks where the memories of her pops are stored up.
While Donut dodges the ache of missing her pops, she and her best friend Tiny plan how to keep her right where she belongs.
“Heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time, Donut’s story is gritty, hopeful and ultimately all about the various ways that love shows up. I loved it.” —Kathi Appelt, author of the Newbery Honor and National Book Award finalist novel The Underneath
“Taxidermy? What better journey to uncover the true stuff of character! A classic, indelible debut.” —Rita Williams-Garcia, author of the Newbery Honor novel One Crazy Summer
“Tautly written yet surging with emotion…The author leaves readers knowing that her insightful, articulate, and wry heroine will land—solidly—on her feet.” —Publisher’s Weekly, starred review
“Kalmar’s debut has an authentic voice that brings her protagonist vividly to life and lends her struggles with grief an immediacy that belies the 1927 setting. Donut is brassy and flawed but easy to love, especially in light of how much she values friendships and her growing self-awareness.” —Booklist, starred review
“Kalmar transports readers into the woods of Vermont with her vivid descriptions. Readers will empathize with Donut’s heartache over the loss of her father and her fierce desire to resist change at all costs. A superb read-aloud, educators and readers will find much to discuss. VERDICT: A solid piece of historical fiction, this novel is a recommended purchase for most libraries.”—School Library Journal
BookPage Children’s Top Pick, July 2018 For more than 20 years, debut novelist Daphne Kalmar was a teacher who loved introducing her students to the natural world. Her affection for the animals and landscapes of Vermont’s northern kingdom is apparent throughout A Stitch in Time, but what will really win over readers is her novel’s heroine. With her big heart and an openness to adventure, Donut is an affecting blend of toughness, vulnerability and fearlessness. A Stitch in Time would make a wonderful read-aloud and provides an opportunity for parents and children to talk about grief, love and self-reliance.
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, July/August 2018 (Recommended purchase) “Readers with an interest in historical fiction will appreciate this energetic and lively heroine dealing with loss as best as she can.”
Rumble Strip interview podcast
Daphne was interviewed about teaching and writingby Erica Heilman and her podcast is available on the Rumble Strip website. A shorter version was aired on Vermont Public Radio.
Many thanks to Currier’s Market in Glover, Vermont and the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in St. Johnsbury, Vt. for allowing me to photograph the above specimens.
If you’d like to see some incredible examples of taxidermy and animal dioramas visit: