The Kitchen Madonna

by Rumer Godden

Hardcover, 2010

Status

Available

Call number

Child > Fiction

Publication

Ignatius Press (2010), Edition: First, 103 pages

Description

Marta is unhappy. For quietly aloof Gregory and his sister Janet, Marta, with her thick Ukrainian accent, her good cooking, and her stories, is the anchor of the house. Mother and Father, both busy architects, are gone all day and sometimes at night. Marta is always there; and the children, sensing her unhappiness, do not want her to go away. When they find out that Marta desires a "good place" in the kitchen, nine-year-old Gregory, with precocious young Janet in tow, sets out to find her a Ukrainian icon in busy, modern London. Master storyteller Rumer Godden deftly brings to life a portrait of a lonely boy discovering the creative power of love. Illustrated.

User reviews

LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Spare and unsentimental, Rumer Godden's The Kitchen Madonna is a short children's novel of astonishing emotional power. Isolated and withdrawn, Gregory's own family find him cold, but buried beneath his reserve is a heart capable of being touched, and a spirit of compassion waiting to be awakened.
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When his new nanny Marta, a Ukrainian refugee, longs for a "good place" - a space in which to keep an altar and an icon of the Virgin and Child - Gregory sets out to provide her with one.

This is a deeply satisfying story, on so many levels. Gregory's ingenuity in creating a home-made icon will appeal to anyone who has ever felt that "where there's a will, there's a way." His gradual emotional awakening, and growing sense of connection to those around him, is a joy to observe. Never didactic or overdone, Godden's gentle narrative invites the reader to consider the connections between respect and compassion, and the fact that we do not need to share (or even understand) the spiritual beliefs of others in order to enter into their feelings. A beautiful, beautiful book.
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LibraryThing member TadAD
Heartwarming without being sappy, this is a wonderful story. How unfortunate that it's out of print now. If you see it in a second-hand book shop, definitely give it a try.
LibraryThing member judithrs
The Kitchen Madonna. Rumer Godden. 1967. I knew I had to read this book when the lady who has taught me to “write” icons told me about it. It is a children’s book set in England. Marta, the housekeeper fascinates Gregory and Janet, but Gregory worries about her because she seems so unhappy.
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One afternoon Marta describes her mother’s kitchen in the Ukraine, and explains that every kitchen had a special place, a shelf or the top of a cabinet for a special picture—an icon of “Our Lady and the Holy Child.” Gregory decides Marta must have an icon to make her happy. When he realizes he cannot afford one, Janet encourages him to make one. “An icon is more than a painting. It is meant to be a link between earth and heaven, a window opening onto sacred things.”
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Original language

English

Original publication date

1967 (Viking)'\; 1966 (Ladies Home Journal Magazine)

Physical description

103 p.; 6.25 inches

ISBN

1932350233 / 9781932350234
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