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Rosalie, My Rosalie: The Tale of a Duckling


Henry Marie wants a pet so badly, she can almost taste it. She would be happy with a pony, or a kitten, or even a baby brother. But her parents always have some excuse: They can't keep a pony in their neighborhood. A kitten would make Henry and her father sneeze. Her parents keep pointing out that they do have a dog. But Scout is her father's and Scout's slow and, well, boring. He won't chase a ball or anything! What Henry wants -- what Henry needs -- is a pet of her very own.


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Henry Marie wants a pet so badly, she can almost taste it. She would be happy with a pony, or a kitten, or even a baby brother. But her parents always have some excuse: They can't keep a pony in their neighborhood. A kitten would make Henry and her father sneeze. Her parents keep pointing out that they do have a dog. But Scout is her father's and Scout's slow and, well, boring. He won't chase a ball or anything! What Henry wants -- what Henry needs -- is a pet of her very own.

Just when she has about given up hope, Henry's father comes home with a fuzzy little yellow head and a rosy beak peeking out of the top pocket of his overalls. Henry immediately falls in love with the duckling's sweet, smiling face and gives her the prettiest name she can think of: Rosalie.

And that's when the trouble begins.

A nine-year-old girl named Henry, who lovingly cares for her pet duckling Rosalie, faces a difficult decision after Rosalie grows to adulthood.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mitchard (Baby Bat's Lullaby) relays an endearing tale just right for newly independent readers, focusing on the friendship between Henry, an "almost" nine-year-old girl, and her pet duckling, Rosalie. Henry is bothered by the fact that a) she was "a girl named after her father" and b) her parents are perfectly content with their "nice, quiet house and their nice, (usually) quiet little girl. The way Henry saw it, too much quiet stops being so nice." But the household becomes less tranquil when her father brings home a fuzzy duckling. As the girl and feathered friend bond, readers learn about imprinting and behavior conditioning. For instance, Rosalie, having imprinted on Henry, throws a "ducky temper tantrum" when the girl puts the pet in her cage at night; so Henry allows Rosalie to sleep on her pillow, where she leaves droppings. In a comical if improbable follow-up, Henry begins diapering her duckling until she can train her to "go flop" outdoors. The book also explores the difficulties of letting a domesticated animal loose in the wild. A cheerful conclusion caps this agreeable story, whose brief chapters and generous sprinkling of half-tone illustrations make it an ideal early chapter book. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-In this warmhearted beginning chapter book, eight-year-old Henry has a craving for someone or something to call her own, whether it is a kitten, a horse, or a little sister. Her dream comes true when her father rescues a baby duck. The duckling is named the most beautiful name that Henry knows, Rosalie. Despite educating herself on the specific needs and behaviors of ducks, she soon learns that taking care of one is not easy. She is confronted with ducky temper tantrums, house training, and eventually the unavoidable of what to do when Rosalie grows up. An affectionate story with large print, black-and-white illustrations, short chapters, and an easy-to-follow story line.-Christine McGinty, Newark Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Nine-year-old Henry is a girl who's bored with her family's quiet life, but her request for a baby or a pet is turned down until the day her father brings home a baby duckling that imprints on her. Named Rosalie, the duck becomes Henry's adored piece of luck and the two are inseparable. Nevertheless, ducks do what ducks do and even though Henry trains Rosalie to "flop" outside, as the duck grows, she needs space and water to swim. The golf course and park provide the necessary water and even wild-duck friends, but eventually Henry has to face the inevitable. The behavioral process of imprinting propels the story and becomes a sub-plot when Henry's mom becomes pregnant. Perceptive older readers may question why Rosalie didn't imprint on Henry's dad first. The large type, length and black-and-white spot art suggest an early chapter book, but adult author Mitchard's fey style, though often humorous, seems out of step with the intended audience. If it looks and walks like a duck. . . . This tale is a pleasant, but odd duck. (Fiction. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060722197
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/12/2005
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 880L (what's this?)

Meet the Author

Jacquelyn Mitchard

Jacquelyn Mitchard is the New York Times bestselling author of The Breakdown Lane, Twelve Times Blessed, and The Deep End of the Ocean, which was the very first book picked by Oprah for her book club. Now You See Her was Jackie's debut young adult novel, and she also has several children's books to her credit: Baby Bat's Lullaby; Starring Prima!; Ready, Set, School!; and Rosalie, My Rosalie. Jackie lives outside Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband and eight children.


"Jacquelyn Mitchard has considered changing her name legally to The Deep End of the Ocean. This is because her own name is much less well-known than the title of her first book," so read the opening lines of Mitchard's biography on her web site. Granted, the writer is best known for the novel that holds the distinct honor of being the very first pick in Oprah Winfrey's book club, but Mitchard is also responsible for a number of other bestsellers, all baring her distinctive ability to tackle emotional subject matter without lapsing into cloying sentimentality.

Mitchard got her start as a newspaper journalist in the ‘70s, but first established herself as a writer to watch in 1985 when she published Mother Less Child, a gut wrenching account of her own miscarriage. Though autobiographical in nature, Mother Less Child introduced the themes of grief and coping that would often resurface in her fiction. These themes were particularly prevalent in the debut novel that would nab Mitchard her greatest notoriety. The Deep End of the Ocean tells of the depression that grips a woman and her son following the disappearance of her younger son. Like Mother Less Child, the novel was also based on a personal tragedy, the death of her husband, and the author's very real grief contributes to the emotional authenticity of the book.

The Deep End of the Ocean became a commercial and critical smash, lauded by every publication from People Magazine to Newsweek. It exemplified Mitchard's unique approach to her subject. In lesser hands, such a story might have sunk into precious self-reflection. However Mitchard approaches her story as equal parts psychological drama and suspenseful thriller. "I like to read stories in which things happen," she told Book Reporter. "I get very impatient with books that are meditations - often beautiful ones - on a single character's thoughts and reactions. I like a story that roller coasters from one event to the next, peaks and valleys."

The Deep End of the Ocean undoubtedly changed Mitchard's life. She was still working part time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison writing speeches when the novel got Oprah's seal of approval and went into production as a major motion picture starring Michelle Pfeiffer. She didn't even consider leaving her job until, as she recounted to Book, "my boss finally said to me, ‘You know, kiddo, people whose books have sold this many copies and are being made into movies don't have this part-time job.'" So, she left her job despite misgivings and embarked upon a writing career that would produce such powerful works as The Most Wanted, Twelve Times Blessed, and The Breakdown Lane. She has also written two non-fictional volumes about peace activist Jane Addams.

Mitchard's latest Cage of Stars tells of Veronica Swan, a twelve-year old girl living in a Mormon community whose life is completely upturned when her sisters are murdered. Again, a story of this nature could have easily played out as a banal tear jerker, but Mitchard allows Veronica to take a more active role in the novel, setting out to avenge the death of her sisters. Consequently, Case of Stars is another example of Mitchard's ability to turn the tables on convention and produce a story with both emotional resonance and a page-turning narrative, making for a novel created with the express purpose of pleasing her fans. "Narrative is not in fashion in the novels of our current era; reflection is," she told Book Reporter. "But buying a book and reading it is a substantial investment of time and money. I want to take readers on a journey full circle. They deserve it."

Good To Know

Mitchard is certainly most famous for her sophisticated adult novels, yet she has also written two children's novels, Rosalie and Starring Prima, as well as Baby Bat's Lullaby, a picture book. She currently has three new children's books in development.

Now that Mitchard has officially scored a successful writing career, what could be left for the writer to achieve? Well, according to her web site, her "truest ambition" is to make an appearance on the popular TV show Law and Order.

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