Hilary and the Troublemakers

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9780679847168: Hilary and the Troublemakers

A homework-eating owl, an angry piggy bank, several talking sheep, and some snow people help Hilary to make the right decisions at home and at school.

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About the Author:

Kathleen Leverich lives in Sommerville, Massachusettes and in Maine.

In Her Own Words...

"Writing began for me as civil war. In 1953 at age five I penciled my first work: "K-a-t-h-y L." These painstakingly printed letters on a white index card earned me borrower's privileges at the Old Greenwich, Connecticut, Perot Memorial Library. With those privileges I planned to trounce my twoand-a-half-years-older sister (a world-class reluctant reader), just once, in something.

"That was my motivation. As an unexpected bonus I found I loved to read. Our house had a wraparound porch, a front stairway and a back, two fireplaces--one standard-sized, one straight from the Hall of the Mountain King. It perched atop the mightiest sledding hill in all of Riverside/Old Greenwich. In peak periods its shingled sprawl contained five of us kids plus Boots the cat, Shan the dog, two parakeets, two Siamese fighting fish--oops!--make that one, plus Mom and Dad.

"I read Grimm's Fairy Tales, Greek myths, Norse legends, and Nancy Drew. I discovered that printing those painstaking marks on paper was not only useful in the Sibling Wars, it was fun. Before I knew it, I was writing stories for school. At first the hope of a good mark served as a carrot. Then I made a discovery. I put pencil to paper, and connections I had never consciously made flowed from graphite onto yellow lined paper. I was astonished.

"At about this time I must have voiced my desire for some straw to spin into gold. My mother's announcement that gold-spinning--and every other form of magical transformation-was "just a story" rocked me to my soles.

"Not long after, Mr. Ives the Sunday School teacher "leveled" with my classmates and me. Behind every miracle lay a grounded-in-science explanation. Aberrant tides had caused the Red Sea to part. Cana's wedding guests had imagined water tasted like wine. This was scandalous news. As I trudged up our steep driveway that day, I thought, Next someone will claim parrots can't talk.

"They mimic," said fifth-grade-teacher Miss Holmes the following Friday. She had paused in her read-aloud of Enid Blyton's Mystery Island to explain. "Yes, the parrot character can speak. But does he understand? No."

"This was the final straw. I made up my mind to show Miss Holmes-Mr. Ives--Mom--everyone, they were dead wrong. Following stints as a University of Southern California film student, a credit checker at a disreputable L. A. loan firm, a Lincoln Center tour guide, a slacker in Almunecar, Spain, as an editor at Cricket magazine, and as Addison-Wesley's children's books editor, that is what I set pencil to paper to do.

"In each book I attempt the same thing: to spin everyday events into the larger-than-life reality I can't prove but know is there. Serious story or comic, that's my aim. I get support in this endeavor from my larger-than-life husband, Walter Lorraine, and hints of a higher consciousness from Nikka, our great-hearted dog.

"I do my writing in the tiny office of our tall house on a teeming street in Greater Metropolitan Boston. And in an equally tiny office in our bright and airy house on a quiet point in Downeast Maine. My gracious older sister swears she reads every word."

From Publishers Weekly:

In this collection of five tallish tales, Leverich ( Best Enemies ) introduces Hilary, a young lady whose overactive imagination throws her into some sticky situations. In the first and liveliest story, a giant owl (who "smelled like a pile of old clothes") waylays Hilary as she walks to school. The exacting beast, who gobbles up her homework and new watch, won't leave Hilary alone until she informs him that owls shouldn't be awake during the daytime. Less entertaining are tales of the girl's run-ins with sheep who refuse to be counted when she cannot fall asleep, a trio of snow people who make unusual demands, a piggy bank with a mind of its own and a fish swimming in her tub. When Hilary finally is invited to spend a grown-up evening with her older siblings, it appears that these troublemakers' visits may cease. Though some of Hilary's flights of fancy are amusing, other capers are a bit plodding. Dotted throughout the text like comic punctuation, Lorraine's black-and-white illustrations enhance the proceedings with their revealing character glimpses. Ages 6-up.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Leverich, Kathleen
Published by Random House Books for Young R (1993)
ISBN 10: 0679847162 ISBN 13: 9780679847168
New Paperback Quantity Available: 2
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Murray Media
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Book Description Random House Books for Young R, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110679847162

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