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Clever Beatrice
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When Beatrice's family is down to their last bit of food, she marches through the woods to the giant's home hoping to win some of his gold. The giant heartily agrees to a contest, and time after time Beatrice proves that brains beat brawn hands down. Full color.
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K-Gr 3-This tall tale from the north woods of Michigan recounts the exploits of a sassy and spirited but very poor little girl named Beatrice. She greets readers on the first page clad in a red dress and literally walks out of the illustration's frame in a way that indicates that she is clearly a heroine with whom to be reckoned. When the child asks her mother how she could earn money to improve their meager existence, her mother tells her about "A rich giant who loves to gamble on his own strength." Beatrice, to her mother's surprise, departs the next day in search of the well-heeled giant and, true to character, she brashly bets him 10 coins that she can "strike a blow harder than you." The none-too-bright man naturally laughs at the challenge by this wee girl, but agrees. After being outwitted in feats of strength no less than three times, the giant relinquishes the last of the treasure to the wily youngster whereupon Beatrice runs home, eager for her mother's warm embrace and heartfelt praise. Solomon does a commendable job of depicting the rough-hewn environs of Michigan's Upper Peninsula in evocative earth tones. Beatrice's character is particularly well rendered with her elfish yet beguiling visage. This tale is especially empowering to girls without being overtly feminist or didactic and will succeed with children because its foundation is fine storytelling.-Rosalyn Pierini, San Luis Obispo City-County Library, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

First-time illustrator Solomon makes an impressive debut in this winning tale of a spunky girl who matches her wits against a giant's brawn to save her family from destitution. Combining detailed watercolor and collage, the artist works patches of photographed tree bark, flowers, earth and grass into her paintings, creating a world in which realism blends with fantasy images to magical effect. Slender logs frame some of the pictures; in others, Beatrice and the giant appear as silhouettes against a white background. While some readers may find the heroine's cheekiness off-putting, others will admire her confidence and creative problem-solving as she tricks the giant into conceding each bet, in spite of his superior strength. Such humorous moments as when the girl wraps a rope around the giant's well and says, "I am not going to bother carrying those buckets one by one.... I would sooner pull out the whole well," are sure to amuse readers, as will the good-natured tone of the battle, which leaves the giant "smiling to himself, feeling lucky" despite his losses. Willey's engaging tale of her sharp-witted heroine's courage, enhanced by Solomon's inspired illustrations, is clever indeed. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

School Library Journal Empowering. Booklist A good choice for story hours. Horn Book, starred review A winning tale. Publishers Weekly, starred review Clever indeed. Kirkus Reviews Willey has crafted her tale so well that the reader can almost hear it being told by a storyteller around a crackling fire. "Booklist"A good choice for story hours. "Horn Book," starred reviewA winning tale. "Publishers Weekly," starred reviewClever indeed. "Kirkus Reviews"Willey has crafted her tale so well that the reader can almost hear it being told by a storyteller around a crackling fire. "Horn Book, " starred review A winning tale. "School Library Journal" Empowering. "Booklist" A good choice for story hours. "Publishers Weekly, " starred review Clever indeed. "Kirkus Reviews" Willey has crafted her tale so well that the reader can almost hear it being told by a storyteller around a crackling fire. Booklist A good choice for story hours. School Library Journal Empowering. Kirkus Reviews Willey has crafted her tale so well that the reader can almost hear it being told by a storyteller around a crackling fire. Horn Book, starred review A winning tale. Publishers Weekly, starred review Clever indeed. "Kirkus Reviews"Willey has crafted her tale so well that the reader can almost hear it being told by a storyteller around a crackling fire. "Publishers Weekly," starred reviewClever indeed. "Horn Book," starred reviewA winning tale. "Booklist"A good choice for story hours. "School Library Journal"Empowering. "Horn Book," starred reviewA winning tale. "Booklist"A good choice for story hours.

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