The Book

by Tara Lazar

Miss Millicent extended the new girl every kindness, like giving her the cot closest to the radiator; yet, this broken twig of a girl with yarn-yellow hair sunk deeper inside herself, nestled into a corner with a dog-eared book, the sole possession with which she arrived. Witnessing the girl’s passionate attachment, Miss Millicent asked the others if they knew the book’s title, but no one could decipher it, for most of its gold-stamped letters had been worn from the spine. Miss Millicent’s curiosity grew so fervent that she took a midnight flashlight to rummage the girl’s cupboard, only to realize that the girl slept with arms enveloping the book. Then one day when the headmistress called for the girl, Miss Millicent discovered the book left behind on the coverlet, and when she opened it, she found, to her shock, only emptiness - no words, no images - nothing but blank, supple pages. In a fit of rage, Miss Millicent confiscated the book and held her ground through weeks of the girl’s pitiful pleading. When a couple from Des Moines finally adopted the girl, Miss Millicent resolved to discard the book, but she could not resist peeking inside one last time, the time she finally understood the girl’s fascination with the book - a most marvelous, miraculous book.


Tara Lazar first published in Six Sentences a decade ago. She’s a literary chameleon, writing dark tales for adults but humor for kids. Her 10th picture book, BLOOP, from HarperCollins, features an alien who visits earth and believes the dogs are in charge. Follow her publishing escapades on Twitter.