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Anastasia Has the Answers

Anastasia Has the Answers

4.0 4
by Lois Lowry

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Anastasia continues the perilous process of growing up, as her thirteenth year involves conquering the art of rope climbing, playing Cupid for a recently widowed uncle, and surviving a crush on her gym teacher. "Anastasia has become a beloved character in children's books and once again she doesn't disappoint." -- Booklist, starred review


Anastasia continues the perilous process of growing up, as her thirteenth year involves conquering the art of rope climbing, playing Cupid for a recently widowed uncle, and surviving a crush on her gym teacher. "Anastasia has become a beloved character in children's books and once again she doesn't disappoint." -- Booklist, starred review

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The sixth story about irrepressible Anastasia Krupnik begins with Anastasia deciding she cannot attend the funeral of her Aunt Rose in California. Anastasia, it turns out, is afraid not only of flying, but of dying. So the Krupniks leave Anastasia and her brother with a sitter, and she must face her fears and problems without her parents for several days. Determined to become a journalist, Anastasia believes she should have ``all the answers,'' and is dismayed to discover things do not always go her way. She's humiliated in gym class because she's the only one who can't climb the ropes, and, upon her parent's return, her plan to fix up her newly single Uncle George with her friend Daphne's divorced mother falls flat. But in a hilarious ending that only Anastasia could set in motion, she not only puts things right, but realizes that a lot of people consider her very special. Funny and touching, this new book is every bit as lively and touching as Lowry's first five, and definitely another winner. (812)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8 Humiliated by her inability to climb a rope in gym class, 13-year-old Anastasia schemes to overcome the obstacle and impress her beautiful lady gym teacher, on whom she has a crush. Counterpoints to the plot are Anastasia's matchmaking efforts on behalf of a newly widowed uncle and a friend's mother, her struggle to make a smarmy recitation come alive and her attempt to view life as a journalist. In fact, each chapter begins humorously with Anastasia's efforts to make the day's events fit into ``WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE WHY,'' somehow , nonetheless , reading in the style of the National Enquirer . The language in Lowry's stories about Anastasia is always natural, but . . . Answers also benefits from this stylistic variation. The surrounding characters, from baby brother Sam playing funeral on the floor to bereaved ``Clark Gablish'' Uncle George are colorful and quirky and distinct. Anastasia manages, with some help from her mother, to resolve the rope conflict. The story's other elements fall, quite literally, into their own likely and lively places. Not only does Anastasia have the answers, but she's also at the top of her form. Carolyn Noah, Worcester Public Library, Mass.
From the Publisher

"Anastasia has become a beloved character in children's books and once again she doesn't disappoint." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
Children's Literature - Nancy Garhan Attebury
Some of Anastasia’s classmates shinnied quickly up the rope in gym class. The act looked easy to Anastasia but she doubted she could do it successfully. Whenever she tried it, her awkward feet just hung there and never found a grip on the rope. Anastasia felt like a disaster, but her likeable young teacher was sure Anastasia could do it in the future. In this easily paced tale of Anastasia, she comes across as a budding reporter and friend to all. She’s wise and willing to help take care of her little brother when her parents go away to her aunt’s funeral. Scenarios such as memorizing a poem to present for teachers visiting from other countries, soothing her best friend whose parents are going through a divorce, and attempting to find adequate male friends for women of varying ages are but some of the appealing parts of this story for third through sixth graders. Characters, from Anastasia’s nursery school-aged brother to her elderly neighbor, work well together. Anastasia shows gumption and the ability to stick with something to get it right. The book also shows that grown-ups are willing to help and believe in Anastasia and what she wants to accomplish. This book from Lowry’s “Anastasia” series has many settings with which middle grade students can relate. Pacing is quick and thinking about what will happen in the story ahead makes this a good read. Reviewer: Nancy Garhan Attebury; Ages 8 to 12.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Anastasia Krupnik Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.39(w) x 7.67(h) x 0.38(d)
760L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

"I would sort of like to go," Anastasia said, "because I've never been on an airplane in my life and I would sort of like to take a plane trip."
"So shall I make three reservations? Have you decided?" Her mother was sitting beside the telephone and she had the yellow pages open to airlines. With her ball-point pen she drew a circle around a number and reached over to dial.
"Weeeellll," Anastasia said indecisively, "I think I might be scared of flying. Maybe I ought to start my flying career with a real short flight, just to Nantucket or something, instead of all the way to California."
Mrs. Krupnik sighed. "All right then. If that's how you feel, maybe you're correct. I'll make two reservations, for Dad and me."
Anastasia began to chew on a strand of hair. "On the other hand—" she said, with hair in her mouth.
"On the other hand what?"
"I've never been to California in my life. This may be my only chance. And since I've decided to become a journalist, I should be open to new experiences."
"I guarantee you will have other opportunities to go to California. However, if you want to go tomorrow, you have to say so right now, Anastasia."
"I have an English test tomorrow, on Johnny Tremain. So I should stay here."
"Look at me," her mother announced. "Watch my finger closely. I'm dialing the phone. Make up your mind." She pressed several of the buttons on the telephone.
"But I hated Johnny Tremain," Anastasia went on. "I'll probably flunk the test. So maybe I should go."
"It's ringing," her mother announced. "Decide."
"But of course it's not going to be a fun trip or anything. No time to go to Disneyland. You did say that, didn't you, Mom, no Disneyland, no movie stars' houses or anything?"
Her mother nodded. She was listening intently to the voice on the telephone. Finally she looked up in disgust. "Rats," she said. "I'm on hold. A recording told me that all their personnel are busy at the moment. Do you believe that? I don't. I think they're all drinking coffee."
She held the receiver out, and Anastasia listened for a moment to the music playing. "Yeah," she said. "They're probably all hanging out together, drinking coffee. But it does give me another minute to decide. If I go, all my friends will be jealous, which would be nice. But probably I should stay, to help take care of Sam."
"Sam will be fine. It's only two days, and Mrs. Stein loves taking care of him."
"Realistically, Mom, what do you think the chances are of a movie scout noticing me during two days in Los Angeles?"
"Realistically? Zero."
Anastasia scowled. "You could have said something more supportive, Mom," she said.
"I'm being honest, and honesty is supportive. Here are the facts, Anastasia: it will be an exhausting trip, out to Los Angeles and back for only two days. It will not be fun, no Disneyland or tours of movie studios. On the other hand, Dad and I would be happy to have you come with us, and your Uncle George would appreciate it, I know, and—Yes? Hello?" She turned back to the telephone. Someone had finally answered.
Anastasia shook her head hard. "No," she said. "I don't want to go."
"One moment, please," her mother said into the phone. She covered the receiver with one hand and turned to Anastasia. "You're sure? You don't want to come?"
"Positive. I'll stay here."
Mrs. Krupnik spoke again into the telephone. "I'd like two reservations, please, from Boston to Los Angeles tomorrow morning, returning on Thursday. Myron and Katherine Krupnik."
Anastasia got up from her chair and wandered over to the refrigerator. She took out a piece of leftover chicken, two pickles, some grapes, and a chunk of cheese; carefully she piled it all on a plate and took it to the kitchen table. She began to eat, even though it would be dinnertime in an hour. She was starving. Decision-making was so hunger-producing when you were thirteen.
Later in the evening, after Sam was in bed, Anastasia wandered into her parents' bedroom to watch them pack for the trip.
"Would you guys like to know the real reason I decided not to go with you?" she asked.
Her father was polishing a pair of shoes that he planned to pack. Her mother was putting some jewelry into a small traveling case. They both looked over to where Anastasia was standing in the doorway, eating an apple.
"Sure," her father said.
"I was scared," Anastasia confessed.
"Of flying?" her mother asked. "You mentioned that. I was surprised. You're not usually scared of new experiences."
"No," Anastasia said, "not of flying. I'd really like to go someplace in an airplane. The new experience I'm scared of is—yuck, I even hate the word—funerals."
"But Anastasia," her mother said, "you went to your grandmother's funeral when you were only ten years old. I remember that you behaved beautifully and that afterward you said you had liked being there, that it was a nice chance to hear people talk about your grandmother and their memories of her."
Anastasia bit into her apple again. "True," she said, chewing. "But you can see what the difference is. The age thing, for one."
"Well, you were ten then, and you're thirteen now. You're more mature—that should make it even easier," her mother said.
"I mean the age of the, ah, the deceased person," Anastasia pointed out.
Dr. Krupnik nodded. "I can understand that. Your grandmother was in her nineties, and your Aunt Rose—well, let me see. Katherine, how old was Rose?"
Mrs. Krupnik wrinkled her forehead, thinking. "Fifty-five, maybe?" she said, finally.
"See?" said Anastasia. "That's old, but still, it's not like ninety-two. And also, there's the other thing."
Her parents looked at her.
"Other thing?" her mother asked.
Anastasia cringed. "I don't quite know how to say it. Cause of Death."
Her parents both nodded. They looked very sad.
"Grandmother just died in her sleep, remember? And that seemed okay, because she was so old and tired, anyway. But Aunt Rose—well, I'm sorry, Dad, because I know she was your brother's wife and all, and I guess she was an okay lady, even though I don't really remember her because I hadn't seen her since I was little, but I have to tell you that I am really grossed out by her Cause of Death."
"Food poisoning? It's tragic," her father said, "but I wouldn't call it gross."
"That other word. I heard you say it to Uncle George on the phone."
"Why yuck? It's the medical term for a particular kind of food poisoning."
Anastasia made a face. "It sounds like someone's name. A mobster. A hit man. My Aunt Rose was killed by Sal Monella. It sounds like something a journalist should write about. By the way, do you know that when you write a newspaper story you should answer the questions 'who, what, when, where, and why' right in the very first paragraph?"
Dr. Krupnik sighed and put his newly polished shoes into the suitcase. "Well, here's the who, what, when, where, and why," he said. "Your Aunt Rose was unfortunately killed last night by one of the finest restaurants in Los Angeles, where she made the mistake of ordering some food that had not been properly stored and refrigerated. And as a result, incidentally, your Uncle George will no doubt collect a fortune in a legal settlement."
"No kidding? Uncle George will be rich?"
"I'm quite sure he would much prefer to have Rose back," Mrs. Krupnik said. "They never had a lot of money, but they were very happily married." She put a blouse into the suitcase, and sighed. "Poor George. This is going to be a sad, sad funeral, Myron," she said. "Anastasia's right. I don't blame her for not wanting to go."
"Since I'm not going, I should be reading Johnny Tremain again," Anastasia confessed gloomily. "I know I'll flunk the test."
"No, you won't," her father reassured her. "You always do well in English."
Anastasia sat down in the middle of her parents' king-sized bed and curled her legs up under her. She tossed her apple core into the wastebasket. " I wish they'd assign Gone with the Wind in seventh-grade English," she said.
Her mother looked over from where she was folding a nightgown. "They couldn't," she said. "It's too risqué."
"Mom," Anastasia said, "there isn't a single sex scene in Gone with the Wind. And only one 'damn.' Remember when Rhett Butler says to Scarlett—"
"'Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn,'" Mrs. Krupnik said in a deep voice along with Anastasia, and they both laughed.
Dr. Krupnik made a face. "It's terrible literature," he said.
"But it's so romantic, Dad. I love romance. I wish someone would say to me, in a deep voice: 'Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.' Someone rich and handsome, with a mustache, like Clark Gable."
Anastasia pulled her long hair up into a pile on top of her head. She rose to her knees so that she could see herself in the mirror on the opposite wall. With one hand, she held her hair in place, and with the other she pulled the neck of her sweat shirt down over one shoulder. "Do you think I have a swanlike neck, Mom?" she asked.
Her mother glanced over at Anastasia's neck. "Long and skinny, yes," she said. She went to the closet. "Myron," she asked, "what ties do you want to take? You'll need something dark and somber, for the services."
Anastasia pulled her sweat shirt tight around her and looked sideways toward the mirror, to see her body in profile. "Would you call me voluptuous?" she asked.
"No," said her father. "Thank goodness. I don't want a voluptuous thirteen-year-old daughter. You can be voluptuous when you're twenty-seven, not before."
Anastasia flopped back down on the bed and sighed. "Well," she said, "I don't know any rich, handsome men with mustaches anyway. I just know obnoxious seventh-grade boys. None of them even shave yet."
Her mother snapped the suitcase closed. "There," she said. "All set. Anastasia, when you get home from school tomorrow, Mrs. Stein will be here, with Sam. Give her a hand with things, would you? And we'll be back late Thursday afternoon."
"It's ten o'clock, Anastasia," said her father. "You ought to be getting to bed."
Anastasia disentangled her legs and stood up. She kissed her father and her mother and went to the hall.
"Don't be dismayed if you notice lights in my room all night long," she called back to them. "I will probably be reading Johnny Tremain three or four times, because I know how important it is to you guys that I get an A in English."
She could hear her father's voice respond as she headed up the stairs to her third-floor bedroom.
"Frankly, my dear," he was calling in a deep voice, "I don't give a—"
Giggling, Anastasia closed her door. She sprawled on her bed and took out the notebook in which she was practicing for a journalism career.

Meet the Author

Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She was born in Hawaii and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan. After several years at Brown University, she turned to her family and to writing. She is the author of more than thirty books for young adults, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader’s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award. Ms. Lowry now divides her time between Cambridge and an 1840s farmhouse in Maine. To learn more about Lois Lowry, see her website at www.loislowry.com

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Anastasia Has the Answers 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This wasn't as good as other Anastasia books, but all in all it was a good story about how Anastasia overcomes one of her disabilities. She DOESN'T have a crush on her gym teacher, she just adores her. There's NOTHING wrong with that!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These books are great!!! An easy read for kids in grades 4-7 (and that high up bc anastasia herself is in seventh grade) but anyone can really read it!!! It was also good for my schools A.R i have to get!
GaltXDagny More than 1 year ago
Lois Lowry's irrepressible Anastasia comes back in this fifth (I think) installment, which I found funny and charming.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is nuts! A girl has a crush on her FEMALE gym teacher and tells her mom. And the mom thinks that's normal because she had once had a crush on her female piano teacher! And Anastasia thinks Salmonela sounds icky just because it sounds like a person! That book is screwed!