Ms. Rapscott's Girlsby Elise Primavera
Nestled inside a lighthouse, Great Rapscott School for the Daughters of Busy Parents takes/b>
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Fans of Mary Poppins will love this whimsical tale of a boarding school for children of very busy parents, where an extraordinary headmistress teaches them life lessons about courage, adventure, friendship . . . and the importance of birthday cake.
Nestled inside a lighthouse, Great Rapscott School for the Daughters of Busy Parents takes its motto from Amelia Earhart: Adventure is worthwhile in itself. Headmistress Ms. Rapscott couldn’t agree more, but her students, who are shipped to the school in boxes, could use a little convincing. Still, despite their initial reluctance, the students are soon soaring through the sky and getting lost on purpose. In addition to learning what birthday cakes are and how best to approach a bumbershoot tree, the students also manage to learn a little something about strength and bravery.
Bestselling author Elise Primavera has created an irresistible, richly illustrated story about finding your way.
In this breezy novel, Primavera (Libby of High Hopes) evokes the spirit of such larger-than-life characters as Willy Wonka and Mary Poppins with Ms. Rapscott, the mysterious, take-charge, and oddly nurturing headmistress of the Great Rapscott School for Girls of Busy Parents. In a sequence of wordless pencil illustrations à la The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Ms. Rapscott and her stalwart corgi assistants stand atop the school's lighthouse to greet a fleet of five large flying boxes containing their newest students. Four girls (one box arrived empty) comprise a motley class of ill-mannered and lonely children whose parents have no time for them, a circumstance the headmistress knows well. Starting with a daily breakfast of birthday cake and ice cream, Ms. Rapscott takes her charges on fantastical journeys that include riding on the backs of seal-like creatures called Seaskimmers, searching for their missing classmate, and flying in Amelia Earhart's plane. Primavera charmingly depicts the girls' activities in her soft pencil artwork, and a neat resolution and the suggestion of a new school term will leave readers eager for another outing. Ages 8–12. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.)
*"Amusing reading with some life lessons slipped in the cracks. Almost best of all are Primavera’s fanciful pencil illustrations, featuring two of the most delightful (if silent) of the book’s characters, Lewis and Clark, turtle-necked corgis that efficiently manage the girls and their hairraising adventures. An invigorating romp with more adventures on the horizon."--Booklist, starred review
"Quirky and imaginative, aimed at middle-graders who like their fiction with a twist." -Kirkus Reviews
"Blends artful drawings with a whimsical story line . . . the plot unfolds nicely. The story is unpredictably unique."--School Library Journal
"Fans of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle will enjoy the feisty nature of this novel. Double-page illustrations are a spectacular accompaniment to the smooth narration. A sequel is just begging to be written!"--School Library Connection
"In this breezy novel, Primavera evokes the spirit of such larger-than-life characters as Willy Wonka and Mary Poppins with Ms. Rapscott, the mysterious, take-charge, and oddly nurturing headmistress of the Great Rapscott School for Girls of Busy Parents. In a sequence of wordless pencil illustrations à la The Invention of Hugo Cabret . . .Primavera charmingly depicts the girls' activities in her soft pencil artwork, and a neat resolution and the suggestion of a new school term will leave readers eager for another outing."--Publishers Weekly
Gr 3–6—At Great Rapscott School for the Daughters of Busy Parents, the lessons learned are far from the ordinary. From getting lost on purpose to a making birthday cake, Ms. Rapscott strives to create well-rounded students who can enjoy an adventure. After being shipped to the school in flying boxes, the students are not as keen on the adventures as Ms. Rapscott. Nonetheless, after time, the girls begin to see the beauty and fun in the "less travelled road" which is the Great Rapscott School. Elise Primavera, author and illustrator of the "Auntie Claus" (Houghton Harcourt) series and The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls (HarperCollins, 2006), blends artful drawings with a whimsical story line. Although there is an underdevelopment in the background and characters, the plot unfolds nicely. The story is unpredictably unique, and if readers can suspend their disbelief, they will be swept up in the narrative.—Brittney Kosev, Dave Blair Elementary School, Farmers Branch, TX
Aided by her two corgis, the headmistress of the Great Rapscott School for Girls of Busy Parents teaches her 8-year-old charges—Beatrice, Mildred, Fay and Annabelle, children whose parents don't have time for them—how to take care of themselves. Primavera's stylish story, while not laugh-out-loud funny, is undeniably humorous in tone, though paradoxically the situation is so poignant that it also has an underlying air of melancholy. The curriculum at Ms. Rapscott's school is "How to Find Your Way," and the students, who are brightly outlined but not given much internal shading, are graded on "pluck, enthusiasm, spirit of adventure, brilliance, and self-reliance." Ms. Rapscott, an indefatigable, charismatic leader who immediately sees the best in her initially unappealing charges, is full of inspirational remarks, urging her students to "be like a good pair of boots: sturdy, durable, and waterproof." The author's darkly whimsical black-and-white drawings supply atmosphere and also tell parts of the story. Although the tone is absurd and fantastical rather than representative and realistic, the girls, who are taught etiquette and survival basics such as how to write a thank-you note and "cross the street without getting squashed," grow and change in believable ways. This is not an emotionally involving tale but one that's quirky and imaginative, aimed at middle-graders who like their fiction with a twist. (Fiction. 8-12)
- Penguin Young Readers Group
- Publication date:
- Ms. Rapscott's Girls
- Sold by:
- Penguin Group
- NOOK Book
- Sales rank:
- 870L (what's this?)
- File size:
- 32 MB
- This product may take a few minutes to download.
- Age Range:
- 8 - 12 Years
Read an Excerpt
ATTENTION, BUSY PARENTS!
Great Rapscott School for Girls of Busy Parents has a unique curriculum designed solely for your daughter.
Including our essential introductory program:
How to Find Your Way
Plus! everything your daughter needs to know that you are too busy to teach her!
We understand that you are too busy to even apply for admission for your daughter, so we will be sending a letter of acceptance shortly!*
Too busy to bring your daughter to
Great Rapscott School?
Not a Problem!
For your convenience we have provided this easy to use self-addressed box in which to safely mail your precious daughter.
No postage necessary. Crackers and cheese are free.
*Great Rapscott School is exclusive only to the daughters of the busiest parents in the entire world.
OUR MOTTO: “Adventure is worthwhile in itself!”
Dear Dr. Loulou Chissel & Dr. Lou Chissel,
It has come to our attention that you are one of the five busiest parents in the entire world.
And so . . .
We are happy to inform you that Beatrice has been selected for admission.
DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS
GREAT RAPSCOTT SCHOOL FOR GIRLS OF BUSY PARENTS
BIG WHITE LIGHTHOUSE BY THE SEA
It was a perfect day for getting Lost on Purpose.
Ms. Rapscott stood at dawn on the observation deck of the lighthouse that was Great Rapscott School for Girls of Busy Parents. A huge beam of light rotated slowly above her. The teacher peered through binoculars while her two corgis looked on.
Armies of dark clouds marched ominously in from the west. The weather would be bad—but here in Big White Lighthouse by the Sea the weather was always bad. “Do you think it will storm, boys?”
Lewis licked the tip of a paw and held it up in the air to check the direction of the wind. Clark nodded a confirmation; it would most likely storm.
Ms. Rapscott scanned the horizon and, in the distance, she saw five faint objects whizzing through the air. They were in a V formation—a pattern used by geese flying south for the winter. But these were not geese, these were boxes—five large boxes. They flew north over the sea road that snaked along the cliff of the rocky coast, straight for the school. “They’re here!” She hurried inside, and clattered around and around, down the circular staircase. Lewis remembered his watch and hurried to strap it on his wrist, and Clark grabbed his clipboard with the list of names. Then they both followed a moment behind.
The boxes landed on the front porch of Great Rapscott School for Girls of Busy Parents.
The teacher poked the first box with her foot.
“Let me out!” came a voice from inside the box.
“Stand back!” Ms. Rapscott warned.
The dogs kept a safe distance.
The headmistress pulled the E-Z open tab with one quick zip and leaped away. A second later, out popped a girl.
“Where am I!?” she hollered.
“You are at Great Rapscott School,” Ms. Rapscott replied. “What is your name?”
“Beatrice Chissel!!” Beatrice had been packed wearing a soiled plaid jumper and shirt, the uniform from a previous school that she had been kicked out of some weeks ago. Her short dark hair looked as if she’d cut it herself, her nose was running, and her teeth needed brushing. She didn’t smell very good, either.
Lewis checked his watch; it was 7:00 a.m. sharp. Clark put a checkmark next to her name.
“This one’s got pluck!” Ms. Rapscott winked at her corgis.
Beatrice Chissel was very small and round, like a beach ball with arms and legs. She narrowed her eyes and gave Ms. Rapscott a suspicious look, then bounced off the porch to take it all in.
She lifted her snub nose and sniffed the salt sea air. She cocked an ear and listened to the racket made by the waves that crashed against large pointy rocks. She felt the sand sting her podgy cheeks like little needles. A clamshell bopped her on the head from a passing seagull and that was it.
Beatrice Chissel climbed back inside her box and pulled the flaps over her head. “Mail me back!!” For once her shrill voice was muffled, which was highly unusual because, for such a young girl, she had developed a set of lungs the size and strength of a professional hog caller.
The reason for this was that no one ever heard Beatrice unless she screamed.
Her parents, Dr. Loulou Chissel and Dr. Lou Chissel, were very busy. They had started out in the cinder-block business and slowly but surely had worked their way up to become prominent cosmetic surgeons. In a stroke of genius Beatrice’s father, Dr. Lou Chissel, had even devised a way to fill out wrinkles and lips from the raw materials that he had used to make his cinder blocks.
“It’s a win-win situation,” Dr. Lou often said.
But the Chissels didn’t stop there. Dr. Loulou Chissel had shortened her daughter’s name from Beatrice to Bea to save time, because Dr. Chissel was busy experimenting with ways to grow hair on cinder blocks.
“Just think of the possibilities,” she crowed.
Dr. Lou rubbed his bald head, “Just think.”
From the Hardcover edition.
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Meet the Author
Elise Primavera, the bestselling author of Auntie Claus, has been writing and illustrating books for children for more than twenty-five years. She lives in Red Bank, New Jersey.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Beautiful, well told story which captures the imagination. My daughter greatly enjoyed it, as did I.