The English Roses
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The English Roses

4.2 105
by Madonna, Jeffrey Fulvimari, Jeffrey Fulvimari

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The English Roses is a story of rivalry and friendship among schoolgirls in contemporary London. Four little girls-Nicole, Amy, Charlotte, and Grace-are eleven years old and the very best of friends. They have sleepovers, picnics and ice-skating parties that exclude Binah, a beautiful girl whose seemingly perfect life makes them "green with envy." However,


The English Roses is a story of rivalry and friendship among schoolgirls in contemporary London. Four little girls-Nicole, Amy, Charlotte, and Grace-are eleven years old and the very best of friends. They have sleepovers, picnics and ice-skating parties that exclude Binah, a beautiful girl whose seemingly perfect life makes them "green with envy." However, when a feisty, pumpernickel-loving fairy godmother takes them on a magical journey, they learn to their great surprise that Binah's life is not nearly as enviable as it had seemed. The English Roses is an inspiring story about the importance of compassion and the rewards of friendship.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The story explores several issues, among them the idea that one can be envied or pitied and the emotional deprivation that often motivates overcompensation in both children and adults...Forget Madonna's wild ways. She offers a vital message for girls. Judge the book, not the author."—Deirdre Donahue, USA Today
Matt Warner
The Barnes & Noble Review
Entertainment icon Madonna zooms once again to the top of the charts, this time breaking new personal ground with her first of five children's books that's showstoppingly cool. A modern-day Cinderella tale for kids ("even grown-up ones"), Madonna's Brit-flavored picture book is a cleverly told story about four English friends -- Nicole, Amy, Charlotte, and Grace -- who spend all their time together reading books, liking boys, and dancing. The only trouble with their friendship's bliss, however, is their mutual jealousy and disgust toward another local girl, Binah, who gets lots of attention with her "long, silky hair and skin like milk and honey," a knack for good grades and sports, and her kind attitude. But a sleepover at Nicole's brings all-too-real fairy godmother dreams, and after the four "English roses" secretly spy a motherless Binah in a less-than-fun home life, they promise to "be kinder to Binah and stop complaining about their own lives." Madonna hits a high note with her straightforward, sometimes sassy text that's still gently smooth and challenging, giving kids a welcome reminder to count their blessings and be compassionate to others. Fashion illustrator Jeffrey Fulvimari creates his own command performance, too, making Madonna's words pop with strikingly detailed watercolors that mix heavy black lines and candy-colored tones to give the book its London-hip, multi-patterned groove. With proceeds from the book being donated to a children's charity, Madonna's foray into writing for younger audiences is a "ray of light" that's more than just a flash in the pan. Matt Warner
USA Today
The story explores several issues, among them the idea that one can be envied or pitied and the emotional deprivation that often motivates overcompensation in both children and adults … Forget Madonna's wild ways. She offers a vital message for girls. Judge the book, not the author. — Deirdre Donahue
The Washington Post
… it's the elegant, whimsical illustrations, by fashion designer Jeffrey Fulvimari, that really save the day. They're pure fun. And nobody could better Fulvimari's riotous color combinations. — Elizabeth Ward
Publishers Weekly
As a singer, she may have pleaded, "Papa, Don't Preach," but as an author Madonna does not heed her own advice, in this debut message-driven picture book about not judging by appearances, the first of five planned titles. "Have you ever heard of the English Roses?" begins the narrator, then ticks off a list of what they are not, followed by "What they are is this:/ Four little girls named/ Nicole, Amy, Charlotte, and Grace." Fulvimari portrays a quartet that could appear on a teen version of Vogue, despite the fact that the blonde, redhead, brunette and caf -au-lait-complected friends clutch dolls. They sport chic plaid mini-skirts, cardigans, even a short pea coat with a British flag patch pocket. "Here are some things you should know about them," the narrator continues, listing their interests, "Most of all, they love to dance...." In a wordless spread in a pleasingly retro-'60s palette of polka dots, the friends demonstrate various moves (e.g., "techno fox-trot," "hip-hop bus-stop" and a disco pose called "night-fever"). The problem: "They were all a little bit jealous" of classmate Binah. Fulvimari portrays beautiful blonde Binah staring into a fountain in a park where even the trees seem to weep. The story unfolds in fits and starts ("Now, stop interrupting me," says the narrator at several points), but the turning point comes when the four dream the same dream, of a fairy godmother who shows them what Binah's Cinderella-esque life is actually like, and they embrace Binah into their newly formed quintet ("I think we've made a terrible mistake," says Grace). Fulvimari provides the spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-In yet another change of public persona, Madonna turns Mother-Knows-Best moralist with a tale aimed at preteens, though packaged in picture-book format. Responding to an admonition from one of their mothers, and with additional guidance from a fairy godmother, four young fashion plates at a sleepover simultaneously dream that a classmate, ostracized because of her extreme beauty, has to do all the household chores because her mum is dead. When this actually turns out to be true, the four guiltily invite Binah into their circle, and surprise, surprise, soon they're all thick as thieves. An unseen narrator delivers this rough-hewn story in a conversational, "listen to me, I'm telling you this for your own good," tone, breaking in distractingly several times to make sure that readers are paying attention. Reflecting a background in fashion art, Fulvimari places skinny lasses with oversized eyes, dressing and posing as if they've stepped from the pages of a department store catalog, against visually bewildering expanses of scribbled filigree or loudly patterned wallpaper. All in all, this overproduced episode, the first of a projected series, will have to rely on hype rather than content or presentation to find a readership.-John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Callaway Editions, Incorporated
Publication date:
English Roses Series
Product dimensions:
8.36(w) x 10.50(h) x 0.48(d)
AD790L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

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The English Roses 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 105 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing it has everything a girl need from clique,to exclusion, to a girl's life!!! The whole series is amazing!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book! It is such a great experiance for young children like me! I can't wait to get my hands on the second book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!It was so awesome!If you have a chance to buy this book go for It.I loved this book so so so so so so much.the so's go on forever!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My daughter loved this book so much, as I believe she empathized with one of the characters. When she found out that Madonna had written more books, she immediately begged for all of them. English Roses is a very fun book, well illustrated which keeps young girls attention. More importantly, it teaches a great moral lesson about not judging a book by its cover. In today's society, cliques are a major problem for girls in grade schools and beyond. Many young girls are hurt emotionally by being excluded. This book made my daughter think a great deal about cliques in her school and how she should deal with the issue. That makes this a very valuable book. The School Counselor agreed so much she allowed us to purchase a copy to be placed permanently in the School Library. Thanks, Madonna!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story is a must for every classroom teacher! I use this book over and over to teach my students about character education and to discuss bullying and differences. I love the voice, pictures and ideas in this book! Way to go Madonna!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I honestly can't understand how anyone could give this book 5 stars. The only good thing going for Madonna's books are the illustrations (not done by her). Her content is often shallow and, particularly in this book, cliquish. There is a reason it's unlikely they will receive the Newbury Award for Children's Literature.
Guest More than 1 year ago
At first time I saw this book, I really love the illustration. It was very colorful and could catch children to eye on it. After I read, I found that Madonna was very good at being mom and writer from simple themes in the story, the importance of friendship and be satisfied of what you have and what you are. Moreover, she used a classic way of children¿s literature to give morals, a fairy God mother. I think moms should give their children this book in order to implant the greatest things of human being (as shown in the major themes) that has to live with other people in the society. Let¿s try it once, you will love it and your kids also.
Guest More than 1 year ago
bought this book for a gift, but I read it before I placed it in the giftbox. I love the pictures but even better the story. I felt that this book is a great addition to any children library. The pictures are really beautiful and the message is one in which every child can relate to. I couldn't believe that such a great book was written by the 'material girl'. Way to go Madonna, and I can not wait to read the next books in her series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The story is not a only a tale for children but for adults as well .
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was not a Madonna fan, when she first came on the scene. I saw her on the Oprah show and really changed my 'tune'. I was VERY impressed with this lovely book, I bought it for my grand-daughter, who is 5, and now it is her favorite book to read when she visits. The moral to this story is so true, everyone should read and comprehend its tru meaning. I have now purchased the book about the boy and the apples, this one is for my grandsons. Thank you Madonna for a GREAT book
Guest More than 1 year ago
Madonna really changed my opion on these kind of books. She stood up to the world and showed what she could do! She can so anything now and I am so proud! I can't wait to read other books of hers! I felt like a new person after reading this book. If you read it, I know you will too! My heart has gone into this book and will never fall out. I'm planning to give it to my niece! I loved this book, I hope you do to! I give this book a five star review!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have 8 grandchildren, 4 boys and 4 girls. I want all my girls to have this book. It is fabulous, the artwork is wonderful, the story a little over their heads for now, but a good life lesson to learn about. Good Job Madonna..
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a great book. I'm very excited about the series that Madonna is writing. I want to collect them all and give them to my granddaughters. The story is a good life lesson teacher and the illustrations are wonderful and different, turning to the next page is done with great anticipation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being a grandmother, I must admit I wasn't sure about this book for my children, so I bought it and read it before passing on to my grandchildren. I LOVED THE BOOK... I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed with the lesson. I am now buying the next and will continue to buy all her children books. Thank you Madonna for a lesson in judging a book by its cover.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this for my 6 year old daughter. IT is so worth it for any mom trying to convey in words that you never know what is happening in someone else's life. I look forward to buying the series for my daughter. Well done Madonna. You have written a timeless story
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book a lot. It is so cool! I always wanted it. Since I have to have a new book for school and reading it out loud to the class, I have to get that book. That's why I need this book for reading it out loud to the class. I just love it!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
No! No! No! Please no, I am glad that I had a boy and not a girl, is this what childrens books have become? Is this what were headed to? I could not find words to just, I don't know....SAY.....why I dont like this book, I think Polly Shulman puts it best: Its author aside, The English Roses is a dull little thing, though not incompetent. Madonna does understand the basic structure of storytelling¿perhaps too well. Cliché follows cliché. Her only unusual move is to tell the Cinderella story from the stepsisters' point of view. But she makes the jealous meanies so passive that they might as well be good: All they really do is respond to lectures about virtue. They're not out there twisting anyone's hair. And the central lesson is muddled and implausible. For one thing, judging by the sugary pictures, Binah is barely distinguishable from the original four Roses¿except for hair color, skin color, and eye color, they're identical: all skinny and chicly dressed, with almond-shaped eyes and no noses. It's hard to imagine what the other four see to envy in Binah. In any case, Madonna's answer is not to show that envy is bad but to suggest that people who look as though they have it all are secretly miserable. What about pretty, lucky little girls whose fathers don't neglect them and make them scale fish¿is it OK to ostracize them? In my experience, pretty little girls have plenty of friends. Other girls might envy them, but they seek them out anyway, hoping (perhaps) that the pretty will rub off on them. Madonna's publishers must be banking on this very phenomenon¿otherwise, why would they have published this book?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
tchrreader More than 1 year ago
Those are good books my favorite are the big ones. All these girls are like fighting over boys all the time. I love them they are by my favorite singer, Madonna. They can get in fights like real life friends and they talk about the differences they have and how they come to terms with being friends together. I love this series and you will too. There are lots of books in the series but I read them quickly because they are fun and entertaining. You will like to read these books- give it a try!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
my daughter who is 10 can totally relate to this book. it's very real. dealing with friends, getting along with friends especially when a child is in a new environment. good lessons are learned from this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Both my daughters enjoyed this book. And were excted to find out it was Madana 'the singer' who wrote it. They are ages 7 and 10. We will now try the others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Read this with my six-year-old at the doctors' office last week. It is right out of the 'politically correct handbook'. My daughter, who loves reading, hasn't mentioned it once since then.