A Long Way

Overview

A little girl takes some intriguing conveyances on a flight of fancy to her grandmother’s house - with the help of a big empty box and a very active imagination

A gift for Grandma arrives one fine day, and her young granddaughter is eager to deliver it by hand. Grandma’s house may be just a hop, skip, and a jump away, but to the girl it seems a long way, and it certainly takes a special kind of creativity to get there. A spare text and abundantly descriptive illustrations guide ...

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Overview

A little girl takes some intriguing conveyances on a flight of fancy to her grandmother’s house - with the help of a big empty box and a very active imagination

A gift for Grandma arrives one fine day, and her young granddaughter is eager to deliver it by hand. Grandma’s house may be just a hop, skip, and a jump away, but to the girl it seems a long way, and it certainly takes a special kind of creativity to get there. A spare text and abundantly descriptive illustrations guide this elaborate journey into a child’s world of make-believe.

After a gift for her grandma arrives in the mail, a girl delivers the present, transforming the box it came in into a variety of forms of transport along the way.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
One cardboard box plus one girl's active imagination equals an extended jaunt to Grandma's house next door, with a detour into make-believe. On a mission to deliver a gift, the granddaughter uses the empty box to create different modes of transport; Ayres's (Macaroni Boy) economical text (e.g., the four words First... car/ then... boat... unspool over eight consecutive pages) leaves it to Tusa's (The Ballad of Valentine) characteristically cheery gouache illustrations to flesh out the journey. Sprightly spot illustrations show the girl earnestly gathering materials for each imaginary vehicle, and these alternate with spreads of the girl piloting the crude finished product. In the end, she flies her plane (a magical from-behind scene features the girl soaring between lawns with an airborne pet chicken, dog and turtle in tow), takes the subway and gleefully presents an oversize watering can to her gardening grandma. Tusa's sure lines and sunny hues depict both the girl's diligence and her playful nature. Background details, like a Humpty Dumpty knickknack among the kitchen clutter, add to the story's buoyant, can-do tone. Readers are continually treated to clues as to where the resourceful girl gets her creative spirit, as in the whimsical mailbox her mother paints or the concluding tea party Grandma hosts. A clever synergy of art and text, and an invigorating romp into the realm of childhood play. Ages 3-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
A little girl's imagination leads to a fun journey in this whimsical picture book. One day a big, brown box arrives at her house, which contains a present for her grandma. She receives permission from her mother to deliver the gift. It's a long way to Grandma's house, the girl says, but she knows how to get there. She employs the box in her "travels," using it as a car, a plane, a boat, even the subway, accompanied in her magical trek by a turtle and a puppy. She finally arrives at Grandma's home with the special present. If one doesn't consult the book jacket, one might not realize that Grandma actually lives only a hop, skip, and a jump away. This book contains few words; the bulk of the story unfolds via Tricia Tusa's ink, watercolor, and gouache illustrations. The specifics of the tale may change with each reading as adult and child fill in the words themselves. 2003, Candlewick Press, Ages 2 to 5.
— Robbin Gould
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-When a gift arrives for Grandma in a large brown box, a girl and her mother wrap it and the child sets off to deliver it. She uses her lively imagination to transform the carton into a car, a boat, an airplane, and a subway. At last, on her own two feet, the youngster arrives at Grandma's door. The woman is delighted with her present-a new watering can that she transforms into a teapot for a party with her granddaughter and traveling companions, a hen, a turtle, and a dog. This gentle ode to the fantastical possibilities of the large brown box and a child's creativity is illustrated with ink, watercolor, and gouache artwork that is reminiscent of Brock Cole's work, somehow whirling, kinetic, and tender all at once. This could be a jumping-off place for any number of creative adventures with found objects.-Dona Ratterree, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Historical novelist Ayres uses just 32 words to transport a wrapped gift of enticingly odd shape, and the child who bears it, to Grandma's house. Most of the action is in Tusa's characteristic freely drawn, free-spirited pictures anyway, as the child busily uses sticks, a length of rope, and other found materials to convert a cardboard carton into a car, a boat, an airplane, and a subway car in succession, then makes the journey's final lap on "feet feet feet." Grandma meets her in the garden, opens the present-a watering can ("Hooray!")-and cheerily invites her to tea. All smiles and busy play, this outdoorsy alternative or companion for Marisabina Russo's Big Brown Box (2000) or Patricia Lee Gauch's classic Christina Katerina and the Box (1968) celebrates the way children can turn almost anything to ingenious, imaginative use-and will send readers of any age out in search of their own boxes. (Picture book. 5-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763610470
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 3/20/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.37 (w) x 10.12 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Katherine Ayres has been a lover of books since earliest childhood, when she began inventing stories before she could even write them down. She is the author of numerous books for children, including two books in the American Girl History Mysteries series. She says of A LONG WAY, "This started out as a simple story about traveling, based on a real trip I took with my daughters. Tricia Tusa’s pictures take it into another country altogether, the land of make-believe, where my granddaughter now spends much of her time."

Tricia Tusa divides her time between Texas and New Mexico with her family. She is the illustrator of many well-loved books for children. Tricia Tusa also experienced an early calling to the world of children’s books. She says, "I decided I wanted to create children’s books when I was five and hope I continue doing so until I leave the planet and travel to Pluto. . . ."

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