Jean Little’s “Willow and Twig”

by Sarah Bowman

Canadian author Jean Little’s children book Willow and Twig is set locally and also mentions Kitchener and Toronto, just like I do in Mennonite Summer. The children move from Vancouver to Elora via Toronto Airport. The deaf little boy goes to school in Kitchener, but if he were profoundly deaf he would have to go to Milton. That is exactly the way things work in real life in this area. Like me, Jean Little sets fictitious characters and events in real places and it happens to be in the next county over from where I’ve lived all my life. She lives on a farm near the small town of Elora, a place I’ve seen, and her story takes place on a farm near Elora. I lived on various farms near the somewhat larger town of Elmira and my story takes place there. For both of us, as with everyone in this general area , the major culture centre is Kitchener but the connection with the larger world is Toronto, especially the airport.