Beatrice Spells Some Lulus and Learns to Write a Letter

Overview

Beatrice wants to write the kind of letters that start with “Dear Somebody,” but she only knows how to write letters like A B C T E R I E. Then her Nanny Hannah teaches her how to put the letters together to spell words, and Beatrice takes off on a spelling spree. She decides to start a Spelling Club at school, but no one signs up because spelling is B-O-R-I-N-G. In fact, the class decides to go on a spelling strike! Then Beatrice has a lulu of an idea and turns show-and-tell into ...

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Overview

Beatrice wants to write the kind of letters that start with “Dear Somebody,” but she only knows how to write letters like A B C T E R I E. Then her Nanny Hannah teaches her how to put the letters together to spell words, and Beatrice takes off on a spelling spree. She decides to start a Spelling Club at school, but no one signs up because spelling is B-O-R-I-N-G. In fact, the class decides to go on a spelling strike! Then Beatrice has a lulu of an idea and turns show-and-tell into show-and-spell starring her pet T-A-R-A-N-T-U-L-A—and soon, in this picture book by Cari Best, everyone has caught the spelling bug.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With their customary novelistic depth and nuance, Best and Potter, the team behind Three Cheers for Catherine the Great! and other titles, tell the story of a girl named Beatrice whose initially rocky relationship with spelling (she spells her name ABCTERIE) turns into a full-fledged romance. Although Beatrice’s family doesn’t share her interest in spelling (“Leo had his ant farm, June had gymnastics, and her parents had their music”), she discovers a fellow word lover in her grandmother (“Life without spelling would be A-W-F-U-L,” Nanny Hannah declares), who gives Beatrice her first dictionary, introduces her to Scrabble, and offers up no less than Thomas Jefferson (“a crackerjack speller”) as a role model. Thus inspired, Beatrice overcomes her classmates’ skepticism (“Spelling makes me yawn,” a boy informs her), and transforms them into a spelling SWAT team who go “all over town looking for good words to spell—and for people’s mistakes.” Potter’s flattened, folk art–like perspectives, mannerist poses, and overall originality continue to be a terrific match for Best’s special brand of storytelling, with its lovely sense of restraint and striking emotional richness. Ages 5–8. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
"Potter’s flattened, folk art–like perspectives, mannerist poses, and overall originality continue to be a terrific match for Best’s special brand of storytelling, with its lovely sense of restraint and striking emotional richness." — Publishers Weekly, starred review

 

 

"Beatrice, whose own name is a bit of a L-U-L-U, is totally charming, and the story and artwork are a P-E-R-F-E-C-T M-A-T-C-H." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review 

 *"This.. picture book will introduce children not only to the joys of spelling but also to words like “lulu” and “crackerjack.” Potter’s folk-arty illustrations depict the story’s action and emotion well...This book will find a ready audience among the spelling crowd and might encourage others to join them." — School Library Journal, starred review

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
Beatrice is a little girl who wants to spell and attacks the skill with energy and excitement. Encouraged by her Nanny Hannah, Beatrice quickly learns to spell long, difficult words through visualization, phonemic spelling; breaking compound words into their parts; and memorizing rules for silent letters. Bea is so excited about her new ability that she tries to generate interest among her classmates by declaring it a sport and starting a school spelling club. However, her classmates do not embrace her enthusiasm until she originates the idea of turning Show and tell into Show and Spell. Of course, Bea has the most intriguing “share” as she brings in her pet tarantula. Then Bea becomes somewhat annoying, as she goes around town correcting misspelled window signs, which may not make her the most popular customer in the bakery and pet shop, and correcting her teacher’s spelling on the blackboard. Nanny Hannah’s support of her granddaughter’s interest in spelling is admirable, but a very advanced game of Scrabble seems way too difficult for Bea’s age and ability and a guest appearance by Thomas Jefferson suggesting that Bea learn to use the dictionary, really does not add to the story. In fact, Bea is overly precocious for a first grader. Nanny Hannah’s use of the antiquated term “lulu” to indicate that a word is difficult to spell is an odd conceit for a contemporary story. The book’s illustrations are flat and primitive as well as being out of proportion. If Bea’s legs actually went to the edge of her skirt as they are drawn, they would never connect with her body. While this story may encourage some children to excel in spelling, Bea’s vocabulary will probably exceed the reach of the book’s intended audience. An interesting concept, but not a necessary purchase. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
★ 09/01/2013
Gr 1–3—Once Beatrice figures out how to spell, she doesn't want to stop. With the support of her grandma, she spells everywhere and anywhere. Around town she spends her time correcting the myriad spelling errors she finds. At school she tries to start a spelling club, but her friends aren't interested. A disheartened Beatrice stops spelling for a whole week, until she comes up with a clever plan. She turns the class Show and Tell into Show and Spell, and then tells the class about her pet T-A-R-A-N-T-U-L-A Rose. Show and Spell takes the school by storm and soon Beatrice and her friends are spelling anywhere, at any time, and correcting errors together. Beatrice then writes a letter to Nanny Hannah, thanking her for giving her the spelling bug. This wordy picture book will introduce children not only to the joys of spelling but also to words like "lulu" and "crackerjack." Potter's folk-arty illustrations depict the story's action and emotion well, but feel a little dated. This book will find a ready audience among the spelling crowd and might encourage others to join them.—Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH
Kirkus Reviews
With email making the art of letter writing almost obsolete and texting turning spelling into truncated babble, this picture book is a clever and refreshing antidote. Beatrice likes to make letters--not the mail kind, but the kind that form words--correctly. While she knows her alphabet and can write all the letters, her problem is putting them in the right order. Her grandma Nanny Hannah comes to her rescue and shows her a technique. Voilà, the more Beatrice spells (even words that are L-U-L-Us), the more she learns how words are put together. "That's my spelling Bea," says Nanny Hannah. Enthusiastic about her newly found skill, Beatrice launches a spelling campaign, correcting all the misspelled signs in town, but when she tries to start a spelling club, none of the kids are interested. That is, until her dictionary sparks an idea. The next day, when it's her turn for show and tell, she changes the spelling on the blackboard to show and spell! Her report on her pet T-A-R-A-N-T-U-L-A and its T-E-R-R-A-R-I-U-M home is a huge hit, turning the whole class into spelling bugs. Potter's quirky illustrations have just the right childlike quality to complement the text, cleverly incorporating amusing details. The ending neatly ties up the storyline with Beatrice writing a real letter, the kind that begins with "Dear Somebody." Beatrice, whose own name is a bit of a L-U-L-U, is totally charming, and the story and artwork are a P-E-R-F-E-C-T M-A-T-C-H. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374399047
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 8/27/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 339,433
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Cari Best is the author of  many acclaimed books for children, including Easy As Pie, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, which School Library Journal called "a delicious book for all collections." Ms. Best lives in Weston, Connecticut.

 

Giselle Potter is the illustrator of many books for children, including The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter, a Parents' Gold Choice Award book. Ms. Potter lives in Kingston, New York.

 

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