Down the Road

( 4 )

Overview

Mama and Papa agree that eggs for breakfast would be nice, but they're too busy to go to the store. So they decide that Hetty is old enough to go by herself. Although she practices walking smoothly up the hill so she won't break the precious eggs, she can't help running all the way down. Young readers will hold their breath as Hetty tries her very best to get those eggs home safely. "The story is remarkable for its evocative imagery, and the loving interchange between the characters sets a charming tone. The ...
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Overview

Mama and Papa agree that eggs for breakfast would be nice, but they're too busy to go to the store. So they decide that Hetty is old enough to go by herself. Although she practices walking smoothly up the hill so she won't break the precious eggs, she can't help running all the way down. Young readers will hold their breath as Hetty tries her very best to get those eggs home safely. "The story is remarkable for its evocative imagery, and the loving interchange between the characters sets a charming tone. The words are perfectly complemented by Lewis's dazzling, impressionistic watercolors that show the joyous power of love and depict a warmly supportive world in which Hetty ventures forth toward independence. A fine book that speaks straight to the heart."-Booklist 11 X 9-1/2. Full-color illustrations

Author Biography: Alice Schertle is the author of How Now, Brown Cow and A Lucky Thing. She lives in Yorktown Heights, New York.

E. B. Lewis, a two-time Coretta Scott King honor-winning artist, lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Hetty is very careful with the eggs she has bought on her very first trip to the store, but she runs into trouble when she stops to pick apples.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Hettie walks alone, down the dusty road, to bring her parents morning eggs from town. She travels with minimum apprehension and maximum imagination. Rhyming, she buys the brown eggs with pride and manners, and is careful almost all the way home. Reaching into a wild apple tree for a special treat, Hettie breaks the eggs. She takes her sad feelings up the tree where she's later joined by Papa who remembers, "there's no finer place than an apple tree to think things over" and Mama, who had "almost forgotten how lovely the world looks from a tree." Then the three return home for apple pie breakfast. Schertle makes poetry out of the ordinary, portrays a loving family that fosters independence, and perfectly balances plot and character. E.B. Lewis' realistic watercolors show the warm comfort of small town life and family with vivid colors, changing vantage points, and emotive expressions.
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
One morning, Mama and Papa decide that they would like fresh eggs for breakfast. They also decide that Hetty is responsible enough to be trusted to travel "down the road," all the way to the old-fashioned grocery store to buy and fetch the eggs home. Although Hetty is careful to anticipate potential dangers to the eggs, on her return trip she gets distracted by picking apples and manages to break the whole dozen. This quiet, warm-hearted story ends with Mama and Papa's understanding and forgiveness. Lovely, realistic, watercolors depict the warmth of this African-American family and the beauty of the summer countryside.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Hetty has never been down the dusty road "all by herself" before, but one morning her parents decide she's old enough to fetch eggs in town on her own. The way is long, and she makes up sing-song "walking words" to amuse herself as she goes. She strides through a meadow, across a stream, and finally "...into the cool shadows of Mr. Birdie's Emporium and Dry Goods Store." On the way home, the eggs survive a close call but break when she is tempted to pick a "Papa-size" apple. Crestfallen, she climbs the tree and sulks until her father comes looking for her. They share the delicious fruit, and then Mama joins them on their perch. The next day, it's apple pie for breakfast instead of eggs. The lyrical, rhythmic text is rich with a warm, leisurely Southern feeling. Even when disaster strikes, there's not much to worry about. The story is both timeless and old-fashioned; the tractor, cars, and truck waiting for repairs in Hetty's yard and the credit card stickers in Mr. Birdie's window ground the rural setting in the present. The watercolor illustrations radiate an almost beachlike quality of blinding light, as well as offer the shadowy relief of intense and subtle greens, blues, and browns. Hetty is a sturdy, charming African American girl with pigtails, ribbons, and overalls. This story is so cozy and sweet that it makes readers thirsty-but Lewis's paintings go down like cool clear water.-Vanessa Elder, School Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152024710
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 407,523
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.80 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

ALICE SCHERTLE has written many well-loved books for children, including Little Blue Truck, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way, and All You Need for a Snowman. She lives in Plainfield, Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2006

    A meaningful look at acceptance

    This book truly moved me as a parent. The response of Hettie's parents was beautiful, accepting and kind. It reminds us all of the need to be like children, to understand children, and to honor them. What a precious gift to Hettie when her parents do the unexpected. And eating apple pie for breakfast will almost always bring much needed joy to a family and to our world!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2003

    down the road

    Hatty is all growing up and is set out to go by her self and buy some eggs. The story was alright.Children can relate to this story as things that happen to young children and, that they should not look at the negative side.As i read this it reminded me of my child hood days. The illustration gives detail enabaling kids to see the character's expressions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2003

    I've been 'Down the Road'

    The book 'Down the Road' is well illstrated, but the story should have been a little more captivating for younger readers.This book is definitely for the kids.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2003

    Plainfield Highschool Library

    Basically this is a story about small town life and how the most menial tasks such as buying eggs from the local grocery store could become an adventure in the eyes of a child. I can't say I was overly thrilled by this story but it does harbor a certain charm that would appeal to preschoolers and the water colors were well done.

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