A Beautiful Girl

Overview

On her way to market Jenna makes four new friends. Along with Baby Elephant, there's Robin, who thinks Jenna has a very silly beak; Fly, who wonders where her hundred eyes are; and Goldfish, who thinks she has very goofy gills. Kirkus has written that "the power and grace in Schwartz's spare style and language lies in the fact that she never condescends to young readers?she just compares notes." Here she once again completely and convincingly captures the world of a child in a beautiful and winning picture book ...

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Overview

On her way to market Jenna makes four new friends. Along with Baby Elephant, there's Robin, who thinks Jenna has a very silly beak; Fly, who wonders where her hundred eyes are; and Goldfish, who thinks she has very goofy gills. Kirkus has written that "the power and grace in Schwartz's spare style and language lies in the fact that she never condescends to young readers—she just compares notes." Here she once again completely and convincingly captures the world of a child in a beautiful and winning picture book about . . . a beautiful girl.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Schwartz's (Oscar: The Big Adventure of a Little Sock Monkey, reviewed June 26) spry story introduces a pony-tailed gal with oodles of personality and an answer for everything. Jenna, sporting a flowered frock, sets out for the market and meets a baby elephant, who tells her she has "a very funny trunk." Jenna insists, "I am not an elephant. I am a big girl and this is my nose." When the elephant asks her if she uses her nose as he uses his trunk (a series of images across the spread demonstrate the fellow picking up peanuts and spraying water on his back), Jenna cites a trio of things for which she does use her nose: smelling daisies and roses, freshly baked cookies and her mother when they hug. The elephant proclaims her "a very nice girl with a very nice nose," and asks if he can accompany her to market. Joining them in turn are a robin (inquiring about the girl's strange beak), a fly (wondering where her 100 eyes are) and a goldfish (calling her ears "goofy gills"), who are intrigued to learn what Jenna does with her mouth, eyes and ears. As she specifies how she uses her senses, readers get a heartwarming glimpse of Jenna's life with her loving parents, baby sibling and pooch. In an endearing denouement, the engaging entourage reaches the market, where Jenna purchases a treat for everyone. Ages 3-6. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Hazel Buys
Jenna goes on an errand to the market and, on the way, meets animals who ask her about different parts of her face. The elephant wants to know why her nose is so odd. Jenna tells the elephant that it's a good nose because of the wonderful things she can smell with it. The bird wants to know what use she can make of her poor excuse of a beak. Jenna tells her it is her mouth and she can talk and eat with it. The fly is astonished she can see anything at all with only two eyes. Jenna tells the fly how well her two eyes work for her. The goldfish finds her ears pretty useless until Jenna explains what she hears with them. Each animal pronounces Jenna beautiful because she possesses such a wonderful nose/eyes/ears/mouth. Together, the animals accompany Jenna to the market where she buys treats for each, including one for herself. This is a fresh approach to helping a child explore the parts of her face and relating them to the same ears, eyes, nose and mouth the child sees on animals and insects in the natural world. The simple drawings are a good accompaniment to this story and provide a sense of fun, as well as adding visual detail to the text.
Children's Literature - Joan Kindig
As Jenna strolls happily along to the market, she meets a variety of animals. All of them mistake her for one of their own species and comment on how strange she is. The elephant thinks she has a strange nose and doubts she can do all of the things he can do with his nose. Jenna sets the record straight with an earnestness and certainty only a little girl can muster and shows him where her nose is and what she uses it for. Each animal agrees that she makes a beautiful little girl and joins the procession to the market. Told with a spot-on eye and ear for young children, the story ends in a satisfying way (in more than one way!). The clear, unbusy illustrations mirror the straightforwardness of Jenna's perspective. This is a lap book that little ones will echo with their parents in many a cozy chair before bedtime.
School Library Journal
PreS-K-Precocious young Jenna meets an assortment of characters on her way to the market, and they all find her unusual features baffling. Baby Elephant thinks that her trunk looks funny. Robin declares her beak "silly." Her scarcity of eyes confuses Fly, who has 100. And Goldfish calls her gills "goofy." Jenna patiently explains to each animal in turn that she is a girl and therefore has a nose, a mouth, two eyes, and ears instead. With all misunderstandings finally cleared up, they all go to the market together to purchase a few special treats and then play until Jenna's mother comes. The short and snappy story line and dialogue will hold the attention of young audiences, as will the naive cartoon illustrations in bright, candy-colored watercolors on white backgrounds. This is a good choice for sharing with groups of young children who are discovering the wonders of their own five senses.-Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Successively meeting Baby Elephant, Robin, Fly and Goldfish en route to market, self-possessed "big girl" Jenna chats them up with aplomb. Acting much like preschoolers themselves, each animal assumes that Jenna should resemble it. Robin remarks on the girl's "silly beak," while Fly asks, "Where are your 100 eyes?" The encounters allow Schwartz to deliver, through her sturdy heroine, an incidental anatomy lesson perfectly pitched to her audience. Spare watercolor-and-ink illustrations contrast animal abilities with Jenna's, as they exchange questions ("Do you pick up peanuts with your nose? Do you spray water on your back on a hot day?") and answers (" 'Actually . . . with my nose I smell daisies and roses . . . I smell Mama when we hug' "). Schwartz reduces an elephant's tail to a single-inked line tipped with a tuft of hair, and a beak to a yellow triangle. While the text makes Jenna's fantasy plausible, the whimsical pictures extend it, offering bright, exotic flora, an outsized fly and an elephant ride for Jenna. Sweetly affirming. (Picture book. 3-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596431652
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 8/8/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 2 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 12.20 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Schwartz has written and illustrated many classic books capturing the moods and motivations of young children, including Bea and Mr. Jones, a Reading Rainbow featured title, What James Likes Best, winner of the Charlotte Zolotow Award, and A Teeny Tiny Baby. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. A Beautiful Girl is her first book for Roaring Brook Press.

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