Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains

( 5 )

Overview

THIS IS THE tale of Lucy and her best friend, Wynston. Until recently, they spent their days paddling in the river, picking blackberries, and teasing each other mercilessly. But now, King Desmond has insisted that Wynston devote every spare second to ruby-shining and princess-finding. Lucy feels left out. So she sets off for the Scratchy Mountains to solve the mystery of her missing mother. When Wynston discovers that Lucy is gone, he tears after her, and together they embark on...
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Overview

THIS IS THE tale of Lucy and her best friend, Wynston. Until recently, they spent their days paddling in the river, picking blackberries, and teasing each other mercilessly. But now, King Desmond has insisted that Wynston devote every spare second to ruby-shining and princess-finding. Lucy feels left out. So she sets off for the Scratchy Mountains to solve the mystery of her missing mother. When Wynston discovers that Lucy is gone, he tears after her, and together they embark on a series of strange and wonderful adventures.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Janice DeLong
Although Lucy is a milkmaid and Wynston is a prince, they are best friends. Life for the two children is rewarding as they explore the village of Thistle and the surrounding fields and meadows of Bewilderness. Their companionship is based on mutual appreciation, but not on mutual agreement, since they argue most of the time. Debate is just one feature that sparks the pleasure of communication between them. Although from different social classes, Wynston and Lucy have one loss in common, neither have a mother. While the queen is memorialized with lovely paintings, the inquisitive girl knows nothing of her parent, except that she is "gone." The mystery surrounding her mother's absence leaves Lucy with many questions. Not wanting to sadden her father, the spunky young lady keeps these bewildering wonderings to herself, until one fateful day. Suddenly, the king has decided that the time has come for Wynston to choose a princess, and he begins to groom his son for a proper marriage. Misunderstanding the distance that Wynston has put between them, Lucy embarks on her own pilgrimage to find her mother, with only the family cow as company. Danger, distance, and pride separate the two best friends; readers are led up mountains, across rivers, and even into jails on simultaneous quests for a mother lost and a princess desired. Humor, adventure, and a healthy boy-girl attraction fuel the fire of this introductory novel. Readers trust that a sequel is in the writing. Reviewer: Janice DeLong
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6

An adventurous young milkmaid named Lucy decides to climb the Scratchy Mountains to learn more about her mother, who vanished many years before. At the top of a mountain she discovers a town dominated by unnecessary rules, where the weather runs on schedule, and the townspeople live in alphabetical order. Lucy's friend Wynston, who is the prince of their small town, and who is supposed to be looking for a suitable princess to marry, follows her up the mountain and helps her rescue her pet prairie dog. As they work together, their spirited friendship blossoms. Ultimately, they discover that it's okay to bend rules if not break them. This fairy tale, set in a time "before television and interstate highways" in the land of Bewilderness, has appealing characters who grow and develop; clear, accessible language; lively dialogue; and a light humorous tone. While the pacing is a little slow and the central message somewhat heavy-handed, children may enjoy the whimsical setting and the sweet friendship that blossoms between the protagonists.-Mari Pongkhamsing, St. Perpetua School, Lafayette, CA

Kirkus Reviews
This delightfully droll fairy tale features a feisty milkmaid named Lucy and her best friend, Prince Wynston. Wynston has been forced to swap berry-picking adventures with Lucy for lessons in the rules and rituals of courtship, as his father insists that he must find a proper princess to be his future Queen. Dejected and lonely, Lucy decides to embark on a journey up the Scratchy Mountains in search of her mother, who disappeared when Lucy was a baby. In an uncharacteristic act of rebellion, Wynston abandons his lessons and follows Lucy to the hilltop town of Torrent, a town so obsessed with rules and regularity that even the rain must come and go on schedule. On their grand adventure Lucy and Wynston learn the answers to Lucy's questions about her mother and lots more, including the surprising facts that sometimes a prince in need of a future queen need look no further than his own best friend and that, while rules are very important and utterly necessary, so too are loopholes. (Fiction. 7-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375847202
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 1/12/2010
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 993,448
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.54 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

You have not read Laurel Snyder’s first book, The Very Naughty Unicorn, because it was hand-written and ripped to shreds by a boy named Henry when Laurel was only eight. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she and her family live in Atlanta, Georgia, in a little brick house with a pale green door. Visit her online at www.laurelsnyder.com.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

(BEFORE THE BEGINNING BEGAN)     

Our Story doesn’t begin Once upon a time or Back in the days of yore. It didn’t happen as long ago as all that, but still it happened before televisions and interstate highways, and even before your grandma was a little girl. Back then, the world was a different place.  

Nowadays people can visit anywhere they please, because of silver airplanes and big ocean liners. Nowadays people can go to France or Zimbabwe, Topeka or Kathmandu, and be home in time for dinner. But back when this story began, the world had tiny corners--pockets nobody ever visited because it was too hard to get there.  

In one such corner of the world, beyond two continents and across a wide ocean (nowhere near France or Topeka), there was a corner of the world that was chockfull of rolling hills and jagged mountains, rivers and streams, and walled villages. And in that land, which was called the Bewilderness, there was a village called Thistle. And just inside the village walls of Thistle there was a blue barn. And beside the barn--close enough that the red-and-white cows sometimes munched on the windowbox geraniums--there was a tiny house.  

It was a stone house--a white one--with a thatched roof and a smokestack that chuffed cheerfully. In the house there was a family that consisted of a papa, a mama, and two little girls named Sally and Lucy. The family was happy almost all of the time,which is as happy as anyone can really expect to be.  

Sally was only two years old, but she was helpful, quiet, and well behaved. Her brown hair hung straight and was never mussed, and somehow her shoes stayed remarkably clean. Everything about Sally was clean--in fact, her very favorite game of all was helping Mama fold the dish towels, which is unusual for a child. Sally was good.  

Lucy was not. She was a tiny baby--fresh and bright and snappy, with a peach glow and a head of rosy curls-- but she screamed all the time. She screamed when she was being put to sleep and when she was waking up, and sometimes she even screamed when shewas snoring. She screamed when she was eating mashed peas, so that the peas fell out of her mouth in a blurp. She screamed when her papa chucked her under the chin and when he left in the morning to milk the cows. And she screamed loudest whenever Sally tried to hold her, because Sally’s arms were too small. So sometimes Lucy slid free and landed with a thunk on the floor.  

In fact, the only time that Lucy didn’t scream was when her mama held her in the rocker and sang to her softly. Since nobody liked to hear Lucy scream, her mama sang to her most of the day, and often at night. She sang every song she knew, and some she didn’t really know. When she ran out of songs to sing, she made up tunes of her own and sang the words from her cookbook:    

Oh, take two cups of sugar,
And put ‘em in a pot,
Then add a bunch of raisins,
And stir it up a lot.
When it gets to bubbling,
Chop an apple in,
And now I can’t remember
Where I put my rolling pin!
    

When her voice wore out, she hummed. And Lucy listened and cooed all the while. But Lucy’s favorite song, the song that put her right to sleep every single time, was a song that her mama had learned when she was a little girl herself, before she came to live in Thistle. The song that Lucy loved so dearly and so quietly was a song that the goatherds sang on the slopes of the Scratchy Mountains. Lucy’s mama called it the "Song of the Mountain," and it went like this:    

Though winter snows may freeze us, and spring storms flood our beds,
We’re glad to feel the mountain grass is pillowing our heads.
Though goats may be our closest friends, and life is simple here,
We like it on the mountain, where the air is sharp and clear.
We have no use for fancy things, so keep your lace and jams.
We have no need for company, just labor for our hands.
And goats to sleep beside us, and bread to keep us full.
And stars above to guide us, and blankets made of wool.
We think of you with kindly thoughts, but seek the simple life.
We choose the mountain over all the joys of hearth and wife.
We’ve felt the sun from heaven, and breathed the mountain air
And now it seems that city life is too much life to bear.
        

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Customer Reviews

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