January 2013 Edition

Mr. Bull and the Amazing Grape by Deborah A. Locke tells a story of particular interest to Mass Hort members. Although a work of fiction, it is a carefully researched account of Ephraim Wales Bull's creation of the Concord Grape. Mr. Bull is seen accomplishing his feat by capturing the imagination of a group of Concord children as they keep vigil (with the assistance of an adorable small dog) over a promising vine. Throughout the growing year, the children envision and discuss a perfect grape. When that amazing grape finally appears in 1853, it is brought to the exhibition halls of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society where it receives a coveted gold medal. The gold medal, which denotes triumph, appears in the middle of the book and is the same one that is awarded today.

Locke's illustrations are as inspiring as her text. She uses brilliantly colored papers, artfully blended and positioned, to achieve amusing costumes and facial expressions. These same paper constructions become period Concord structures and other background elements. The book is a treasure. Locke is a Concord resident and children's clothing designer who has put her talents to work as and entertainer and an educator.