Celia and the Sweet, Sweet Water

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9780395913246: Celia and the Sweet, Sweet Water

Long ago, a young girl named Celia lived with her mother and a grumpy dog, Brumble, in a tiny house deep in the countryside. When Celia's beloved mother fell ill, Celia tried to make her feel better, but nothing seemed to help. "If only I could drink once more the sweet, sweet water of my childhood, my life would be saved," her mother cried. As Celia loves her mother very much, she sets out immediately with the complaining Brumble to find the precious water. Along the way, they meet several unhappy creatures: a wild child of the woods; a sobbing, wretched woman of the water; and a mad man of the mountain. Through kindness and enormous generosity, Celia manages not only to complete her quest, but to dissolve the sorrow of the three souls she has encountered on her journey.

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About the Author:

Katherine Paterson’s international fame rests not only on her widely acclaimed novels but also on her efforts to promote literacy in the United States and abroad. A two-time winner of the Newbery Medal (Bridge to Terabithia and Jacob Have I Loved) and the National Book Award (The Great Gilly Hopkins and The Master Puppeteer), she has received many accolades for her body of work, including the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, given by her home state of Vermont. She was also named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress. She served as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature in 2010-2011. Ms. Paterson is vice president of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance (www.thencbla.org), which is a not-for-profit education and advocacy organization. The NCBLA’s innovative projects actively promote literacy, literature, libraries, and the arts.  She is both an Alida Cutts Lifetime Member of the United States Board on Books for Young People (www.usbby.org) and a lifetime member of the International Board on Books for Young People (www.ibby.org). She and her husband, John, live in Barre, Vermont. They have four children and seven grandchildren. For more information, visit www.terabithia.com.

From Publishers Weekly:

Compassion is the key to this compelling fairy tale, with its heroine's quest showing glimmers of the one in Paterson's recent novel Parzival. When Celia was an infant, a "terrible war" left the girl fatherless and drove her mother from the home in which she grew up. Now Celia's mother is ill and requests "the sweet, sweet water of my childhood" to heal her. The heroine, knowing nothing of her destination, sets out to grant her mother's wish with her grumbling dog, Brumble. Several challenges stand in her path, including a "mad man of the mountain," whom she soothes with music, and a "wretched woman" of the water, whom she befriends by asking, "Why are you so wretched?" (the allusion to the Fisher King cannot be overlooked). Celia completes her mission, but Paterson gives it a surprising twist, letting readers know the girl possessed the antidote all along. Paterson cleverly employs Brumble to give voice to the passive choice that Celia ignores as she soldiers on. Vagin (who teamed up with Paterson for The King's Equal) expertly navigates the thin line between the allegorical nature of the quest and the real world, where its roots are firmly planted. His wretched woman weeps in green haze and shadow under a willow tree, as even the surrounding birches bend in sorrow; yet Celia shines, cloaked in red, as a child readers would recognize as a friend or neighbor of their own. Readers may take a leap of fancy here, but author and artist supply them with many familiar guideposts along the way. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Paterson, Katherine; Vagin, Vladimir [Illustrator]
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