Brave Little Seamstress

Overview

"Goodness!" the little seamstress said. "I've killed seven flies with one blow." And to mark the event, she took out her favorite coat and stitched on the back:
SEVEN WITH ONE BLOW!
Proud of her amazing feat, the brave little seamstress sets off to tell the world. It's not her fault if, along the way, a giant sees her coat and thinks she slayed seven giants, now is it?
Based on the classic fairy tale "The ...

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Overview

"Goodness!" the little seamstress said. "I've killed seven flies with one blow." And to mark the event, she took out her favorite coat and stitched on the back:
SEVEN WITH ONE BLOW!
Proud of her amazing feat, the brave little seamstress sets off to tell the world. It's not her fault if, along the way, a giant sees her coat and thinks she slayed seven giants, now is it?
Based on the classic fairy tale "The Brave Little Tailor," Mary Pope Osborne's spirited retelling — this time starring a gutsy seamstress — and Giselle Potter's charming illustrations take you to a magical world where a little heroine meets even the biggest challenges with wit and imagination.

A seamstress who kills seven flies with one blow outwits the king and, with the help of a kind knight, becomes a wise and kind queen.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Marvelously absurd."

New York Times Book Review

"Clever."

Publishers Weekly, starred review

Publishers Weekly
In a starred review of this feminist reworking of The Brave Little Tailor, PW said, "This briskly imaginative romp will sew up fans' allegiance and gear them up for this pair's next Grimm makeover." Ages 4-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-The popular story of "The Brave Little Tailor" receives its just revision as a feminist adventure. All of the familiar elements are present-the jam and the flies, the giants, the unicorn, and the wild boar-but the finale is a delightful twist. The brave little seamstress marries the knight who has told her of the king's plan to be rid of her, and becomes a legendary "kind and wise" and "strong and brave" queen. Osborne, who previously collaborated with Potter on Kate and the Beanstalk (Atheneum, 2000), has crafted another lively tale suited to reading aloud or telling. In a note, the author relates that the Brothers Grimm collected the story from female relatives and that Andrew Lang, whose version she has adapted, relied on his female relatives for retellings and translations. Potter's stylized art, rendered in pencil, ink, gouache, and watercolor, is replete with humorous details. The diminutive but clever seamstress perched on the knee of the huge and slightly befuddled giant sets the tone for this playful version. The palette of greens, browns, and oranges for the giants and the landscapes, and royal purple for the king is appealing. The use of a running stitch design for the title and some page borders adds to the visual treat. A beautifully designed book that children will enjoy and adults will want to share again and again.-Susan Pine, New York Public Library Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Switching genders in another traditional tale, the author and illustrator of Kate and the Beanstalk (2000) pit a clever, doughty seamstress against a swarm of flies ("Seven At One Blow"), three giants, a unicorn, a wild boar, and, most dangerous of all, a fearful king with a hundred knights. Whether facing wild beasts, or surrounded by large (sometimes very large) pale, purse-lipped men, the seamstress visibly exudes self-confidence, and though Potter places her in a medieval setting-and the way the heroine addresses her adversaries (" ‘Hey! Unicorn! . . . Over here!' ")-gives this rendition a contemporary flavor. In the end, the seamstress sends the king and 99 of his knights packing; the 100th, who admires her spirit, sticks around to become king and inherit the kingdom with her. As the story is about courage and cleverness overcoming brawn, it's actually improved by a protagonist even smaller and weaker than the tailor in the original-even more so, as Osborne points out in the source note, since its best-known versions, from the Brothers Grimm and Andrew Lang, were probably collected from female storytellers. (Picture book/folktale. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689844867
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 5/1/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 1,007,930
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.90 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Pope Osborne

Mary Pope Osborne is the award-winning author of many distinguished books for children and young adults, including the bestselling Magic Treehouse series; Favorite Medieval Tales, illustrated by Troy Howell; American Tall Tales, illustrated by Michael McCurdy; Rocking Horse Christmas, illustrated by Ned Bittinger; and Adaline Falling Star. The former president of the Author's Guild, she lives in New York City with her husband, Will.

Giselle Potter is the author and illustrator of The Year I Didn't Go to School, which is based upon her travels around Italy with her family's theater troupe at age seven. She is also the illustrator of The Brave Little Seamstress and Kate and the Beanstalk, both by Mary Pope Osborne, The Honest-to-Goodness Truth by Patricia C. McKissack, and Gabriella's Song by Candace Fleming. Ms. Potter lives in Rosendale, New York.

Biography

Ever since 1992, Mary Pope Osborne has been thrilling kids everywhere with her delightfully exciting Magic Tree House series. The globetrotting escapades of time travelers Jack and Annie are brimming with adventure and magic (not to mention some subtly placed lessons on history and geography). With a life like Osborne's, it's only natural that she would be capable of bringing such wondrous stories to life.

Osborne was brought up in a military family, and her parents' work led to a lifestyle marked by constant change. "By the time I was 15," she says on randomhouse.com, "I had lived in Oklahoma, Austria, Florida, and four different army posts in Virginia and North Carolina." While many kids would probably feel disoriented by such constant change, Osborne wouldn't have had it any other way. "Moving was never traumatic for me, but staying in one place was. When my dad finally retired to a small town in North Carolina, I nearly went crazy with boredom. I craved the adventure and changing scenery of our military life."

And adventure is exactly what Osborne got! After college, she embarked on a series of daring treks across the globe that would surely give Jack and Annie a run for their money. "For a while I camped in a cave on the island of Crete," she said. "Then I joined up with a small band of European young people heading to 'The East.' We traveled through 11 Asian countries and nearly lost our lives, first in an earthquake in northern Afghanistan and then in a riot in Kabul."

Following an illness she contracted in Katmandu, Osborne returned home to the U.S. trying her hand at a vast variety of jobs: window dresser, medical assistant, Russian travel consultant, waitress, bartender, and an assistant editor at a children's magazine. Although Osborne had unconsciously moved closer toward her ultimate career, she says that her first attempts at writing seemed to come without warning. "One day, out of the blue, I began writing a story about an 11-year-old girl in the South," she recalls. "The girl was a lot like me, and many of the incidents in the story were similar to happenings in my childhood...it became a young adult novel called Run, Run Fast as You Can. Finally, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up."

She sure did! Since then, Osborne has penned a slew of stories, including picture books, chapter books, middle-grade biographies, and young adult novels; but she is indisputably best known for her wonderful Magic Tree House books, a happy hodge-podge of history and mystery with a time travel theme kids find irresistible. No doubt inspired by Osborne's own highly adventurous life, these exiting expeditions have attracted droves of children and pleased educators by combining compulsively readable storytelling with useful facts about geography and history.

As was written of the series in Children's Literature, "Mary Pope Osborne provides nicely paced excitement for young readers, and there's just enough information mixed in so that children will take away some historical fact along with a sense of accomplishment at having completed a chapter book." As much as Osborne has certainly pleased her readers (not to mention their parents and teachers), perhaps no one is quite as pleased as she. "I'm one of those very lucky people who absolutely loves what they do for a living," she explained. "There is no career better suited to my eccentricities, strengths, and passions than that of a children's book author."

Good To Know

A few fascinating outtakes from our interview with Osborne:

"One of the most defining experiences of my life was traveling overland in an old van through the Middle East and Asia in the early 1970's. One day, when a small group of us were camped in a remote part of northern Afghanistan, we saw a woman riding horseback over the sloping plain. Her long brown hair floated on the wind and she wore a bright gypsy-style dress. When she got closer, I realized she was one of my roommates from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill! Though I didn't even know she'd left the U.S.—and she didn't know I was in Afghanistan, we weren't that surprised to come upon each other. That says a lot about the times we were living in then."

"After 26 years of living in New York City, my husband Will and I now spend most of our time in Northwestern Connecticut, living in a house that overlooks a lake. We kayak and hike with our two Norfolk terriers, Joey and Mr. Bezo. Will's learning Italian, and I've been working with a tutor for two years trying to understand Dante's Divine Comedy. One of my biggest hobbies is reading philosophy and theology. We spend lots of time, of course, on our work. After writing three shows for the Morehead Planetarium in North Carolina, Will's writing a musical based on the Magic Tree House series. I'm writing book # 38 in the series. I also spend a lot of time with my sister Natalie Pope Boyce who works on the Magic Tree House Research Guides. Natalie and our nephews and some of our best friends live nearby in the Berkshires Hills of Massachusetts, so we're up there a lot, too. My only complaint is there is not enough time to do all I want to do. For instance, I'd love to take drawing classes and I'd love to paint the lake we're living on. And I'd love to bird watch and become a better cook and learn about classical music. Maybe sometime in the future...."

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    1. Hometown:
      Goshen, Connecticut
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 20, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Fort Sill, Oklahoma
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of North Carolina
    2. Website:

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