Tag Archives: independence

Princess Hyacinth: The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated

By Florence Parry Heide, Illustrated by Lane Smith

Schwartz & Wade Books, 2009

Princess Hyacinth had a problem. Well, you’re saying, everyone has a problem. But this was an unusual problem. Oh, she didn’t look unusual, that wasn’t it. She had two eyes, with a nose between them and a mouth under that — you know, the usual things in the usual arrangement…So what was the problem?

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Nate the Great and the Lost List

 

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by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, illustrated by Marc Simont

Yearling, 1975

I, Nate the Great, am a busy detective. One morning I was not busy. I was on my vacation. I was sitting under a tree enjoying the breeze with my dog, Sludge, and a pancake. He needed a vacation too. My friend Claude came into the yard. I knew that he had lost something. Claude was always losing things…”I lost the grocery list I was taking to the grocery store. Can you help me find it?” “I, Nate the Great, am on my vacation,” I said. “When will your vacation be over?” “At lunch.”

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The Paperboy

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Story and paintings by Dav Pilkey

Scholastic, 1996

The mornings of the paperboy are still dark and they are always cold even in the summer. And on these cold mornings the paperboy’s bed is still warm and it is always hard to get out — even for his dog…but they do.

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The Well at the End of the World

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By Robert D. San Souci, Illustrated by Rebecca Walsh

Chronicle Books, 2004

The King of Colchester was a kind and just man, but not a very good ruler. Oh, he did fine dubbing knights or deciding what to have for dinner. But it was his daughter, Princess Rosamond, who really ran the kingdom. She advised her father on matters of state, kept the royal accounts, and fixed the drawbridge when it wouldn’t rise or lower. People often said it was a shame she wasn’t beautiful, too. But practical Rosamond would just laugh and say, “I prefer good books to good looks. I may not be pretty, but my father’s treasury is in order, the drawbridge works, and I’ve almost saved up enough for a new set of royal dishes!”

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Our Corner Grocery Store

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By Joanna Schwartz, Illustrated by Laura Beingessner

Tundra Books, 2009

Saturday is my favorite day of the week. I spend every Saturday at my Nonno Domenico and Nonna Rosa’s corner grocery store. It’s early in the morning when I arrive. Mrs. Mele is out walking her dog. Once in a while a car goes by, but mostly it’s quiet. The neighborhood is still asleep.

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Ella Takes the Cake

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By Carmela and Steven D’Amico

Arthur A. Levine Books, 2005

It was already summer vacation and the bakery was busier than ever. Ella tried her best to help. But sometimes, she didn’t feel very helpful. She’d already swept the floor three times. There wasn’t a crumb on it. When the oven timer went off — DING! — Ella thought she’d help by taking out the macaroons. “No, no, no,” her mother sang. “You might burn yourself.”

Maybe it’s because I read this to my daughter while my son was attending his first day of nature camp and I was fraught with anxiety, but I found this book to be…a nail-biter. Little Ella, who surely owes a huge debt to Babar, insists on delivering an enormous three-tiered birthday cake. She is, of course, on her bike, while Danger Cake is pulled behind her in a clunky wooden wagon. Ella is blissfully unphased by the obstacles she encounters — including her belligerent “friend,” Belinda and an alarmingly steep hill.  I’m sure I read this story faster, louder, and with more urgency than my daughter would have liked. But I breathed a sigh of relief when Belinda delivered the cake to the Captain intact (and my son had a blast.)

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Ladybug Girl

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By David Soman and Jacky Davis

Dial Books, 2008

After breakfast, Mama says, “Papa and I have work to do around the house. You’ll have to figure out your own fun time, okay?” “How am I ever going to do that?” asks Lulu. “You can do anything, Lulu. You’re Ladybug Girl!”

When Lulu’s parents are busy, Lulu is doubtful she can find anything to do on her own. To make matters worse, her older brother goes off to play baseball with his friends, chiding, “You’re too little.” Fortunately, Lulu finds that as Ladybug Girl, there are plenty of fun things she can do on her own. (Not to mention brave tasks to accomplish — some puddles are shark-infested, you know.) With her faithful basset hound, Bingo, at her side, Lulu turns a potentially boring morning into a fabulous adventure. David Soman’s illustrations are utterly charming; it takes my kids and me a full five minutes to get past the front cover of the book, which shows Lulu dressed in a variety of fabulous costumes, from a space explorer in a bubble-shaped helmet to a hilariously haughty movie star — sort of Ginger of “Gilligan’s Island” meets Jackie O. But the red tutu and rockin’ ladybug boots are by far, my favorite. I’d totally wear them if they came in my size.

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