Nelly May Has Her Say

Nelly May Has Her Say

by Cynthia DeFelice, Henry Cole
     
 

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Nelly May Nimble and her twelve brothers and sisters live with their parents in a tiny cottage in the Bottoms, where there's never enough food to feed so many hungry mouths. Nelly May decides that she is old enough to earn her keep and takes a job as Lord Ignasius Pinkwinkle's new housekeeper and cook. Along with her many chores, Lord Pinkwinkle also expects Nelly

Overview

Nelly May Nimble and her twelve brothers and sisters live with their parents in a tiny cottage in the Bottoms, where there's never enough food to feed so many hungry mouths. Nelly May decides that she is old enough to earn her keep and takes a job as Lord Ignasius Pinkwinkle's new housekeeper and cook. Along with her many chores, Lord Pinkwinkle also expects Nelly May to learn his own special language. So Nelly May gets to work, using a wet scooperooty to hold the water she mops the floor with and then cooking supper for him, the Most Excellent of All Masters. But late that night, when a spark from the flaming-pop-and-sizzle lands on the fur-faced-fluffenbarker's wigger-wagger, Nelly May puts her foot down. She'll save his roof-topped castleorum, but she will not be his fuzzy-dust-and-fooder any longer. In Nelly May Has Her Say, Cynthia DeFelice and Henry Cole team up for a fun-filled romp that makes a great read aloud.
A Margaret Ferguson Book

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Once upon a time, a “clever and quick” girl named Nelly leaves her impoverished, overpopulated family and goes to work for Lord Ignasius Pinkwinkle, a man at the far end of the eccentricity spectrum. Not only does he insist on being called “Most Excellent of All Masters,” he also has an entire nomenclature system for everyday objects. A bed is a “restful slumberific,” boots are “stompinwhackers,” and the dog (who is as perplexed as Nelly is by all of this) is a “fur-faced fluffenbarker.” When a fire threatens the estate, Nelly proves her linguistic adeptness and helps his Lordship understand just how silly he is. The source of this story is the English folktale “The Master of All Masters,” which is similar to Goldilocks in that the setup is more satisfying than the conclusion. Veterans DeFelice (Wild Life) and Cole (Unspoken) give the story polish, but much of the book is essentially a tour of a stately mansion. Still, the ending both resolves the original’s thudding conclusion and shows that employer and employee can have a relationship built on genuine affection and respect. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

“With one smart heroine and witty wordplay, this book, which is based on the English folktale "Master of All Masters," will delight.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“Based on a storyteller's standby, this comical picture book is highly recommended for reading to groups of children.” —Booklist, starred review

“Jocular and sparking with energy, an old tale gets a new turn.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The clean book design and forefronted action make it perfect for storytime, which is where this comical tale of creative naming will shine.” —The Horn Book

“A rollicking readaloud or storytelling selection.” —BCCB

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
An ambitious girl named Nelly May Nimble sets out to earn her bread and butter and to take the burden of thirteen children off her parents. The bold child packs her bags and heads up the hill to the estate of the neighborhood Lord where she offers her services for cleaning, cooking, and pet care. The only problem is that the Lord of the Manor, Lord Pinkwinkle, is somewhat persnickety about how things are called. He, himself, is the "Most Excellent of all Masters." His bed is a "restful slumberific." The mangy dog is a "fur-faced flufenbacker." The nonsense words are fun to say and will have children laughing out loud, especially if the reader coaches them to say the silly names with her. The book is based on an old British folktale and Cynthia DeFelice has shown wonderful restraint in the amount of text she used to tell the story. It is brief enough for story time, which is often not the case in folk stories. The story is of British origin and the presence of royalty in a manor house sets the location, despite the cartoonish illustrations, Nelly May is a charming provincial and Lord Pinkwinkle, in all his tubby grandeur, is undeniably upper caste. Nelly May's determined approach to chores and her all-around spunkiness fit nicely in the tradition of Clever Rachel and other female-centric folk stories. However, the light tone and humor will make it easy and fun to share with a wider range of ages. Invite kids to create their own words for everyday objects to extend the lesson. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—Nelly May Nimble lives in a tiny house with her parents and her 12 brothers and sisters. One day she announces that it's time to earn her own keep, so she ventures off to the hilltop home of Lord Ignasius Pinkwinkle to hire out her services. Lord Pinkwinkle agrees with one condition; the master of the house has special names for things, and Nelly must use those names when she speaks to him. At first, Nelly obliges, addressing Lord Pinkwinkle as "Most Excellent of All Masters," and using his silly monikers, such as "long-legged limberjohns" for trousers and a "flaming pop-and-sizzle" for his fireplace. But when Lord Pinkwinkle's "fur-faced fluffenbarker's wigger-wagger" catches fire, Nelly has to wake him and announce the fire before the house burns down. Can she remember all those silly names before a catastrophe happens? Cole's illustrations juxtapose Nelly's homestead in the "Bottoms" and Lord Pinkwinkle's "roof-topped castleorum" with deft humor and a folk styling that is sure to appeal to young readers. Nelly is spirited and clever, most surely not just another "fuzzy-dust-and-fooder" that his "Most Excellent Master" thinks she is. With one smart heroine and witty wordplay, this book, which is based on the English folktale "Master of All Masters," will delight.—Carol Connor, Cincinnati Public Schools
Kirkus Reviews
A playful remake of the English folktale "Master of All Masters." This is a lurking cumulative tale wherein the accumulation comes in a great, merry rush at the very end of the telling. The broad strokes are the same as Joseph Jacobs': A young girl goes looking for work and lands a job with a single, well-to-do man. A requirement for the job is that the girl must use the unusual names he has given to everyday objects. In the original, he calls his bed a "barnacle," and his pants are "squibs and crackers," but DeFelice has given the gentleman's inventions a supercharging. The bed is now a "restful slumberific," his pants are "long-legged limberjohns," and his hound a "fur-faced fluffenbarker" complete with a "wigger-wagger" (tail). This makes the ending a tumbling, heroic effort, rather than a spray of commonplace wordplay, but it is all in the service of an amusing mouthful of words. Cole's artwork remains true to his warm and humorous sensibility, with Nelly May, the young girl, a gratifyingly emotive creature. The contemporary twist on the ending brings the story right up to the late 19th century. Jocular and sparking with energy, an old tale gets a new turn. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374398996
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
03/19/2013
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,084,792
Product dimensions:
8.10(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Cynthia DeFelice is the author of many picture books and novels, most recently Wild Life. She lives in Geneva, New York.

Henry Cole is the author and/or illustrator of more than eighty books, including A Nest for Celeste; Bravo, Livingstone Mouse! by Pamela Duncan Edwards; and And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. He lives in Florida and Virginia.

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