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Hinky-Pink: An Old Tale

Hinky-Pink: An Old Tale

by Megan McDonald (Retold by), Brian Floca (Illustrator)

A happy Hinky-Pink is a fine thing. An unhappy Hinky-Pink pinches!

That is what happens to Anabel, a young seamstress in Old Italy who has only days to finish her dream: sewing a gown for the princess to wear at the Butterfly Ball.

Thanks — or no thanks — to the Hinky-Pink Anabel is woozy for want of sleep. Her lace looks like cheesecloth


A happy Hinky-Pink is a fine thing. An unhappy Hinky-Pink pinches!

That is what happens to Anabel, a young seamstress in Old Italy who has only days to finish her dream: sewing a gown for the princess to wear at the Butterfly Ball.

Thanks — or no thanks — to the Hinky-Pink Anabel is woozy for want of sleep. Her lace looks like cheesecloth; her hems, like saddle cinches. Night after night, the Hinky-Pink keeps wrestling her bedclothes to the floor — and pinching. What is its problem? And how is Anabel to help?

A grand old favorite of storytellers is here given sprightly new life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In this small-format entry, a happy hybrid of traditional tale and quirky cartoon, McDonald (Judy Moody) and Floca (Lightship) recast a story from 1940 to tickle a contemporary fancy. Humble seamstress Anabel's dream of sewing a princess's ball gown is finally about to come true-until a Hinky-Pink, a mysterious, seemingly invisible creature begins robbing her of sleep night after night. The characters clearly inhabit fairy tale land-"back when mirrors could talk and princes were frogs"-but this particular magical realm intersects with a long-ago Florence, depicted in Floca's limber ink-and-watercolor illustrations and invoked by the occasional Italian word or phrase. Like the text, the art hits just the right tone of tongue-in-cheek earnestness: after stating that the heroine's name is Anabel, the omniscient narrator adds, "Alas, notAnabella," and a speech balloon floats out of the illustration (a panorama of Florence) with an echoing "Alas." The lively design mixes full-page bleeds, pictures stretching across spreads, and tiny animated vignettes; a profusion of detail doesn't impede a spirited sense of motion. For extra fun, endnotes identify Florentine landmarks. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

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Children's Literature - Kathie M. Josephs
What is a Hinky Pink? I can tell you that if the Hinky Pink gets upset he pinches you, so it is best to keep him happy. Well, a long time ago there was a girl named Anabel who sat and mended clothing items. How bored she was, but she had a dream. That dream was to sew a special dress for the princess. Now, the princess who lives in the castle had an accident and dropped a raspberry tart right on the lap of her fancy dress. Her nursemaid ran quickly to Anabel's house and took her back to the castle where she was placed in a tower filled with materials, threads, and wonderful decorations. The princess told her she had one week to make her the most beautiful dress in the world. Oh, her dream was finally going to come true…or was it? That night while Anabel is asleep, something pinches her. Every time she gets back into bed, the pinching happens again. She cannot sew in the day because she is too tired from not sleeping. This goes on for days, and Anabel is running out of time. Finally she learns that the Hinky Pink is unhappy, very unhappy that someone is sleeping in his bed and keeps pinching her all night long. She decides there is only one thing to do—make a bed just for Hinky Pink. Does this work? Will she be able to finish the dress in time? This is a delightful book with illustrations on every page. The story alone is truly fun, but the illustrations add charm, humor, and great entertainment. This is a book that will be read over and over again and will bring a smile each time. It is perfect to read aloud. Reviewer: Kathie M. Josephs
School Library Journal

Gr 2-4

Anabel is a seamstress in Old Italy who dreams of making a dress worthy of a princess. Isabella Caramella Gorgonzola is a princess who gives the girl one week to make her a dress worthy of the Butterfly Ball. Locked in the tower sewing room, Anabel finds the finest silk, chiffon, and crepe as well as gold scissors, thread that is clear as glass, and a silver thimble. Unfortunately, she also shares the room with a Hinky-Pink that pinches her at night, steals her covers, and makes sleep impossible. When Anabel is "chill as a fish and can't sew a stitch," the nursemaid advises her to make the Hinky-Pink a bed of its own. After many unsuccessful attempts, Anabel fashions a tiny bed from her silver thimble, and the Hinky-Pink hums happily. Having slept "the sleep of a princess without a pea," she sews the perfect dress in a single day. Illustrations are done in watercolor and ink and feature a warm palette of rose, peach, and gold tones. Actual landmarks are used to make Firenze come alive, while Italian words and phrases are scattered throughout, sometimes placed in speech bubbles. McDonald's flawless storytelling melds with Floca's joyous art, bringing new life to Margery Bailey's "The Bed Just So" from Whistle for Good Fortune (Little, Brown, 1948). Girls who love princess stories will adore this lively tale.-Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN

Product Details

Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.20(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.40(d)
AD610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Megan McDonald, beloved author of the Judy Moody books, is also a gifted storyteller. She is the author of When the Library Lights Go Out, illustrated by Katherine Tillotson; The Hinky-Pink, illustrated by Brian Floca; and the now-classic Is This a House for Hermit Crab?, illustrated by S.D. Schindler. She lives in Sebastopol, California.

Brian Floca is the author and illustrator of Locomotive, winner of the 2013 Caldecott Medal; Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; Lightship, also a Sibert Honor Book; and Racecar Alphabet, an ALA Notable Children’s Book. He has illustrated Avi’s Poppy Stories, Kate Messner’s Marty McGuire novels, and Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan’s Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, a Sibert Honor Book and winner of the Orbis Pictus Award. You can visit him online at BrianFloca.com.

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