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Children's LiteratureThe wise woman of the title lives in a beautiful valley. A lover of all creatures, she is quiet and soft as her cat's fur. People gathered from all over the valley to seek out the wise woman to learn her secret to wisdom. Young Jenny dawdled, playing along the way, causing the adults to scold her for holding them back in their journey. She gathered pebbles and leaves, nature's gifts, while the adults followed the woman'scat to a blackthorn tree and to a well. All they found in the well was a tarnished penny. They threw it on the ground where Jenny lay down to admire it as it glistened with drops of water from the well. Jenny put the penny in her pocket and jumped around to hear the jingling against the pebbles already there. Soon after, she returned to the Wise Woman's house, and approached the porch where she was still rocking. "Jenny nodded her head in rhythm." Soon the wise woman asked Jenny, "What do you have in your pocket, little girl?" And that's the secret of wisdom—to be curious and to wonder. Sometimes children can be wiser than adults. The illustrations throughout emphasize natural beauty, which only Jenny seems to appreciate. The warm, colorful sketches add to the romantic nature of the tale. The enchanting patterns and warm hues propel the reader in the spirit of a whirlwind excursion. The moral of the story: real wisdom is found in curiosity and wonder—things grownups often put aside. 1999 (orig. 1991), Aladdin Paperbacks/Simon & Schuster, Ages 4 to 8.
—Rosemary A. Chase <%ISBN%>0689823819 <%ISBN%>067172603X