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The Scarecrows' Wedding

The Scarecrows' Wedding

by Julia Donaldson

"Betty O'Barley and Harry O'Hay
Were scarecrows. (They scared lots of crows every day.)
Harry loved Betty, and Betty loved Harry,
So Harry said, 'Betty, my beauty, let's marry!
Let's have a wedding, the best wedding yet,
A wedding that no one will ever forget.'"

And so begin the plans for the best wedding the barnyard has ever seen! The scarecrow


"Betty O'Barley and Harry O'Hay
Were scarecrows. (They scared lots of crows every day.)
Harry loved Betty, and Betty loved Harry,
So Harry said, 'Betty, my beauty, let's marry!
Let's have a wedding, the best wedding yet,
A wedding that no one will ever forget.'"

And so begin the plans for the best wedding the barnyard has ever seen! The scarecrow couple sets off for a hunt round the farm for everything they need for the festivities -- a big white dress, rings, wedding bells (or, at least, cow bells)... But when Harry's search for flowers takes him far, far away, villainous scarecrow rival Reginald Rake sees his chance to ruin this beautiful day... Hurry back, Harry!

A rollicking read-aloud adventure from the beloved team behind STICK MAN, SUPERWORM, and ROOM ON THE BROOM.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Maria Russo
Donaldson's rhymes trip right off the tongue and into trippy territory that Scheffler's humorous drawings complement perfectly.
Publishers Weekly
Scarecrows Betty O'Barley and Harry O'Hay are getting married, and it promises to be an endearingly DIY affair, requiring only "A dress of white feathers/ a necklace of shells/ Lots of pink flowers/ two rings and some bells." But what seems to be an innocuous wedding planning story, with lots of cute farm animal friends eagerly helping the happy couple, takes a dark turn when Harry goes missing while searching for flowers. His scarecrow replacement is a cigar-smoking, esteem-crushing ("You're really quite pretty, apart from your hair") scarecrow, aptly named Reginald Rake, who tries to woo Betty (and then inadvertently sets her on fire). Donaldson and Scheffler (Superworm) are in sync as ever, from the simple rhymes that move the story forward at a fast clip to an expressive cast (even the grasshoppers seem to have rich inner life) and a dastardly villain, who readers will be glad to see depart. The only downside is the story's shopworn path to its happy ending, with Betty as a hapless damsel in distress and Harry as her fortuitously reappearing knight in tattered garments. Ages 4–8. (July)
From the Publisher

Praise for The Highway Rat

"This well-paced, rollicking tale is a guaranteed storytime treat." -- School Libray Journal, starred review

"Donaldson and Scheffler deliver a lot of laughs.... A treat." -- Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Tabby McTat, The Musical Cat

"The team behind Room on the Broom pair up again in what has become a near-annual ritual of picture book perfection.... Impeccable rhythm and rhyme distinguish this particular tale, filled, as always, with Donaldson's exemplary humor and heart." -- New York Times

"Adults looking for a mellifluous read-aloud selection may also find this the cat's meow." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Praise for A Gold Star for Zog

"Donaldson... is a master of witty comic rhyme and original stories with heart...The book gets a gold star too." -- New York Times

"A delightful new twist on happily-ever-after." -- School Library Journal

Praise for Stick Man

"Donaldson's rhymes never skip a beat, and Scheffler personalizes the many animals, people and settings in his witty watercolors. This yarn could become a December perennial." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Scheffler's engaging illustrations, Donaldson's irresistible rhyming text and repeated refrains make this a winning read-aloud that will stick around long after the holiday season." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The tale of the wedding of scarecrows Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay is told in jolly rhyme. Betty and Harry carefully plan “the best wedding yet,/ A wedding that no one will ever forget.” After the animals on the farm contribute most of what they need, Harry sets out to find the necessary pink flowers, the water to keep them fresh, and a pail to carry them. Even with help, Harry’s quest takes days. So the farmer makes a new scarecrow, Reginald Rake, who tries to woo Betty away. As he brandishes a cigar, Reginald starts a fire that menaces Betty. Luckily, Harry arrives with the pail of water, saving Betty and bringing the last item necessary for “the best wedding” the next day. The characters are colorful, cartoon-y stereotypical scarecrows depicted in a naturalistic farm setting using varying page designs for the action. There is drama in Reginald’s behavior with Betty, but fun overall in the story. Items from the story dance across the end pages. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—In this peculiar tale, two scarecrows decide to get married and have a big wedding. They gather everything on their list that they need for the celebration but realize that the pink flowers are missing. So off Harry O'Hay goes to find a field of flowers for his bride, Betty O'Barley. Meanwhile, the farmer notices that Harry is missing and brings home a new scarecrow, Reginal Rake, to take his place. The newcomer promptly begins to woo Betty and tries to impress her by making smoke rings with a cigar. This leads to an unfortunate incident in which she ends up on fire. Thankfully, Harry appears: "'Betty!' cried Harry. 'My own future wife!'/He poured on the water—and saved Betty's life." This story is told through simple rhyming couplets that are intended for young children, but the plot isn't satisfying. The author may have been trying to promote an anti-smoking message; unfortunately, it is lost in the disconcerting image of the scarecrow burning. The pictures are done in bright and vibrant colors outlined in black. Strictly additional.—Megan McGinnis, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.90(w) x 11.30(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Julia Donaldson served as the UK Children's Laureate from 2011 to 2013 and has written many bestselling and beloved picture books and novels for young readers. She lives in Glasgow, Scotland, with her husband, Malcolm.

Axel Scheffler's award-winning books include Room on the Broom, The Snail and the Whale, and The Gruffalo. His illustrations have been published in more than thirty countries. He lives in London, England.

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