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A series of letters relating what happens when, after her father loses his job, Lydia Grace goes to live with her Uncle Jim in the city but takes her love for gardening with her.
"A moving, wonderfully rich illustrated story. It is that rarity, a pictorial delight that in 20 double pages gives more and more of itself each time it's read, and whose silent complexities reveal themselves with continuing pleasure." —The New York Times Book Review
1. How does David Small, the illustrator, use the endpapers to suggest what the book is about?
2. Have students look at the entire book without reading the text. Ask the class to choose words that best describe Elizabeth. Read the text aloud. Ask students to compare their descriptions of Elizabeth with the way she is presented in the book by Sarah Stewart.
3. Note the black-and-white sketches located near the text on each page (e.g., the stork on page 7). What is the purpose of these motifs?
4. Elizabeth Brown decides to settle down and begins tutoring for pay. Discuss why tutoring is a good job for Elizabeth Brown. Speculate: Whom does she tutor? What subject might she tutor?
5. Ask students to suggest book titles for the children's collection at the Elizabeth Brown Free Library. Have them share their suggestions in class and explain their choices. Have the class determine how each book should be classified.
6. Sponsor a class "readers' olympiad." Ask students to draw up the rules (e.g., the number of books or pages to be read, ways to share the books, how winners are to be chosen). Ask each student to design a bookmark that might be given to a child who participates in the event.
7. Tell students that the Boston Public Library is the first public library in the United States to lend a book. Encourage students to visit the Web site for the Boston Public Library (www.bpl.org), and ask them to find out what programs the library offers children. Students may also be interested in finding out the history of the public library in their community.