With whimsical illustrations, a feminist fable proves that brains outweigh brawn when three siblings enter a most enlightening competition. (Ages 5-7)
Long, long ago, in the golden, olden days, a farmer devised an ingenious competition to determine who should inherit his farm. Which of his children -- Franz, Hans, or Mary -- could fill the house with something that cost a mere penny? Did straw do the trick? Were feathers sufficient? Or did it take something a little more creative? Tanya Landman's retelling of a traditional tale, illustrated with Richard Holland's stylish artwork, reminds us that sometimes the greatest value can be had for only a penny.
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Tanya Landman is the award-winning author of I AM APACHE, THE GOLDSMITH'S DAUGHTER, and many other books for young readers. She lives in Devon, England.
Richard Holland is the illustrator of THE MUSEUM BOOK by Jan Mark and THE TIME BOOK by Martin Jenkins. Richard Holland lives in Essex, England.
K-Gr 4–A farmer can't decide which of his two sons should take charge after he is “dead and gone,” so he challenges each of them to fill the house with a penny's worth of something. When neither of the young men can carry out his mission, he reluctantly allows his daughter to try. Despite the fact that “Everyone knows that girls can't run farms,” Mary fills the house with music from a simple, handmade reed flute and with light from a single candle, and her humbled father chooses her to run the farm. You see, Mary's “very special, secret something” is “brains.” Holland's stylized mixed-media illustrations don't quite mirror the hyperbolic descriptions in the text. The “brawny” Franz–rotund in the illustrations–is said to have hands “as big as stone slabs.” Hans has “feet the size of rowboats” (actually, a largish pair of laced black '40s-era shoes). Clothing cut from patterned paper; shoes clipped from photos; penciled facial features; watercolor backgrounds; crayoned trees, water, and clouds invite viewers to search each page for unusual detail, like the tiny people in medieval dress in the market scenes and the small black cat that is present on most pages. While the oversize gray text is quite readable, the names of Franz and Hans, printed in large, bold type, and Mary's in large italics, are jarring. This retelling of a “feminist fable,” with its redundant references to the inferiority of girls, just doesn't measure up to the wealth of excellent folk tales, picture books, and novels that feature strong female characters.Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
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Book Description Candlewick, 2010. Library Binding. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110763647683
Book Description Candlewick. LIBRARY BINDING. Book Condition: New. 0763647683 Ships promptly. Bookseller Inventory # Z0763647683ZN
Book Description Candlewick, 2010. Library Binding. Book Condition: New. 1. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0763647683