The Silver Nutmeg: The Story of Anna Lavinia and Toby (Hardcover)

Staff Pick Badge
The Silver Nutmeg: The Story of Anna Lavinia and Toby Cover Image
On Our Shelves Now: Please call ahead to be sure inventory is not being held for other customers.
2 on hand, as of Dec 5 6:33pm

Staff Reviews

"The story of The Silver Nutmeg is straight forward: Anna Lavinia’s father chipped a hole in the garden wall so that she would have a good point of view on the world. When she leaves the garden to explore what she has been watching from that hold, she discovers another world, one that can be accessed by jumping through still, deep water. In that place she has adventures, makes friends, and learns all kinds of valuable lessons, the most important of which is that home is actually a pretty great place to be. It’s a story that has been rehashed for centuries for both children and adults, but in the capable hands of Palmer Brown, it is anything but common (and beautifully illustrated). Deeply philosophical for a children’s book, it belongs on your shelf next to Winnie the Pooh and The Little Prince. It offers different lessons at different stages of life and is truly an under-appreciated classic.

As a kid, every time I was sick and had to stay home from school, I read The Silver Nutmeg. Any time I had had a particularly bad day at school, was feeling lost, had had a fight with a friend, I would go upstairs to my room and jump into Anna Lavinia’s world. It was the ultimate comfort, a healing balm that offered so much potential, potential of a sort that was completely lacking in real life. Over the years I have returned to this book more times that I can say, and I recently reclaimed it from my childhood bedroom, in the middle of a stack of text books from my college years, books that were meant to expand my perspectives and offer me a new point of view, and they certainly did, but none in such a vivid way as this lovely story from my childhood."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books

— From Lucinda Recommends!


Anna Lavinia’s father wanted her to have another point of view, so what did he do? He made a peephole in the garden wall. But he couldn’t have known that this new view would lead Anna Lavinia all the way to the upside-down mirror land that lies on the other side of the pond. Here Anna Lavinia meets Toby, who explains that on the other side, instead of gravity, there’s something called “the tingle,” which feels like “the tickle that comes before a sneeze, or the thrill that comes when the knot in a ribbon just begins to loosen,” and allows for floating and spectacular feats of tree-climbing (but mind your furniture doesn’t drift away!). Toby introduces Anna Lavinia to a variety of wonders and oddballs, including an uncanny fortune-teller, a turtle with a jungle on its back, and Aunt Cornelia, who’s never quite recovered from the disappearance of a certain young man into Anna Lavinia’s world a very long time ago.

The Silver Nutmeg continues the adventures begun in Beyond the Pawpaw Trees, and features loads of sense, a little nonsense, and more charming verses from Anna Lavinia’s favorite book of rhymes. Best of all, fans of Palmer Brown’s intricate drawings will find every page a delight for the eyes

About the Author

Palmer Brown (1920-2012) was born in Chicago and attended Swarthmore and the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author and illustrator of five books for children, including Beyond the Pawpaw Trees and its sequel, The Silver Nutmeg; Cheerful; and Hickory. About Beyond the Pawpaw Trees, his first published book, Brown said: “If it has any moral at all, it is hoped that it will always be a deep secret between the author and those of his readers who still know that believing is seeing.”

Praise For…

“This is a book more for boys than for girls, but boys how like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ will probably find this enjoyable. It is about Anna Lavinia (the girl in ‘Beyond the PawPaw Trees’) whose father thought she needed broader horizons. So he tore down their garden wall to accomplish this. Lavinia meets a boy who named Tobey and together they romp in his land of no gravity. The illustrations are delicate; the text is imaginative and poetic. This is a book for the child who loves fantasy” – Boston Globe
A companion volume to Beyond the Pawpaw Trees
Praise for Beyond the Pawpaw Trees:
“Brilliant . . . it may prove the special treasure of many.” —New York Herald Tribune
“A fantasy for girls who have lively imaginations. Anna Lavinia’s adventures will be appreciated by them and they will take the trip with her.” —Saturday Review
Product Details
ISBN: 9781590175002
ISBN-10: 159017500X
Publisher: NYR Children's Collection
Publication Date: April 10th, 2012
Pages: 152
Language: English
Series: Anna Lavinia