Clever Beatrice and the Best Little Pony

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Overview

Everyone knows that Beatrice of the north woods is clever. But did you know that she's also mighty brave? In this disarming companion to the award-winning Clever Beatrice, our heroine proves that she's a pint-sized force to be reckoned with when she discovers that someone has been sneaking into the barn at night to ride her beloved pony. But who?
The village bread maker, who specializes in solving "things not easily explained," claims he can help Beatrice, given enough time. But...

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Overview

Everyone knows that Beatrice of the north woods is clever. But did you know that she's also mighty brave? In this disarming companion to the award-winning Clever Beatrice, our heroine proves that she's a pint-sized force to be reckoned with when she discovers that someone has been sneaking into the barn at night to ride her beloved pony. But who?
The village bread maker, who specializes in solving "things not easily explained," claims he can help Beatrice, given enough time. But Beatrice doesn't have time, so starts thinking herself...

Clever Beatrice seeks out Mister Le Pain, the village breadmaker, to come up with a plan to protect her pony from the tiny bearded lutin that magically rides him every night.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Publishers Weekly, starred review Willey's engaging tale of her sharp-witted heroine's courage, enhanced by Solomon's inspired illustrations, is clever indeed.

Horn Book Magazine, starred review Set in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, this is a winning tale of brain vs. brawn from the French-Canadian tradition, full of lively dialogue and situation.

Publishers Weekly
First-time illustrator Solomon makes an impressive debut in this winning tale of a spunky girl who matches her wits against a giant's brawn to save her family from destitution. Combining detailed watercolor and collage, the artist works patches of photographed tree bark, flowers, earth and grass into her paintings, creating a world in which realism blends with fantasy images to magical effect. Slender logs frame some of the pictures; in others, Beatrice and the giant appear as silhouettes against a white background. While some readers may find the heroine's cheekiness off-putting, others will admire her confidence and creative problem-solving as she tricks the giant into conceding each bet, in spite of his superior strength. Such humorous moments as when the girl wraps a rope around the giant's well and says, "I am not going to bother carrying those buckets one by one.... I would sooner pull out the whole well," are sure to amuse readers, as will the good-natured tone of the battle, which leaves the giant "smiling to himself, feeling lucky" despite his losses. Willey's engaging tale of her sharp-witted heroine's courage, enhanced by Solomon's inspired illustrations, is clever indeed. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
Someone has been running the heroine's pony ragged at night in Clever Beatrice and the Best Little Pony by Margaret Willey, illus. by Heather Solomon. So she consults Monsieur Le Pain (his shingle reads "Fresh Bread & All Things Not Easily Explained"), who blames it on a lutin (a "little bearded [man]... from the old country") and the duo sets out to outwit it. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Set in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, as was its predecessor Clever Beatrice, this story introduces the French-Canadian lutin, a version of the Scandinavian Tomten. The lutin is a tricky elf who invades households or stables for good or evil, depending on how you treat him. Mother accuses Beatrice of neglecting her pony, who has been put to bed uncurried and overridden. When Beatrice denies this, mother suggests they consult the village expert on things not easily explained. The expert is the new bread maker from Quebec who pinpoints the cause, but it is clever Beatrice who figures out the three ways to trick, capture, and convey the lutin far away. This well-told story will satisfy independent girls, horse and pony lovers, those in search of a new traditional tale, and artists of all sorts. Solomon's use of watercolor, acrylic, and oil paints, cut paper and natural materials in collage is refreshingly unique with warm toned interiors and plenty of orange colors of the fall setting. Beatrice's startled hair, her billowing red skirt, and her upright and confident demeanor all contribute to this book's successful blend of story and pictures. 2004, Atheneum, Ages 4 to 8.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-The self-sufficient star of Clever Beatrice (Atheneum, 2001) returns in another folktale from the French-Canadian tradition. This time, the girl outsmarts a lutin, described as a little bearded man from the old country who acts and looks a bit like a leprechaun. Every morning, Beatrice finds that her beloved pony is dripping with sweat, covered in burrs, and exhausted, and surmises that someone must be riding him at night. She consults the town baker, Monsieur Le Pain, who is also the expert on "things not easily explained." While he ponders how to help her, Beatrice figures out on her own how to handle the lutin. This well-told story about a strong and smart heroine will appeal to kids. The illustrations add beautifully to the narrative. Solomon combines watercolors, acrylics, oils, and collage in palettes of gold, brown, and other earth tones to evoke the north woods setting. Willey includes a helpful note about lutins that will spark even more conversation about the tale.-Linda M. Kenton, San Rafael Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Having bested a giant in her first outing, Beatrice returns to do battle with a tiny elf. Morning after morning, Beatrice finds her beloved pony thirsty, muddy, and covered in burrs. Puzzled, her mother suggests she consult the new bread maker, who is also an expert in all things not easily explained. Surmising that it's a lutin, a strong elf in French-Canadian tradition, Monsieur Le Pain uses his "great big brain" to think about an answer for Beatrice. While she watches him work, she comes up with her own clever solution-his footprints in the flour around the table suggest flouring the stable floor to find out if it really is a tiny lutin. Three times she visits and each time, she leaves with a trick she thinks of herself. Finally, it comes time to get rid of the pesky elf, and Beatrice does the capturing. She's not only clever this time around, she's also brave, doing whatever it takes to save her pony. Willey's telling is superb, and Solomon's watercolor illustrations are full of rich, warm color, evoking the village life of yesteryear. A must for any folk collection. (Picture book. 4-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689853395
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 8/24/2004
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD750L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Heather M. Solomon was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start for Clever Beatrice, winner of the Charlotte Zolotow Award. She is also the illustrator of Clever Beatrice and the Best Little Pony by Margaret Willey and If I Were a Lion by Sarah Weeks. She lives in New Mexico with her husband, daughter, and son, who especially love to share joyous secrets.

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