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UP AND DOWN THE SCRATCHY MOUNTAINS Or The Search for a Suitable Princess

Author: Laurel Snyder

Illustrator: Greg Call

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Publisher: Random House Children's Books,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Lucy and Wynston had been friends all their lives. They get along well (though they argue all the time), Lucy made up songs (Wynston couldn't sing a note); and they have a standing date to go berry-picking on Sundays. Or so Lucy thought. One Sunday, when Wynston misses their date, Lucy learns the realities of life. She is just a milkmaid and Wynston was a prince, the king-in-training to be exact. He missed their date because now was the time for princess-finding. Lucy didn't like losing her best friend; just like she didn't like knowing where her mother was. Everyone said she was gone, but no one would tell her where. If Wynston was growing up, then she would, too. Lucy decided to chart her own course and become a Mom-finding hero. She filled her backpack with necessities and she took off for the Scratchy Mountains with Rosebud the cow. When Wynston learns what Lucy has done, he sets off in search of her. Adventures and self-discovery await Lucy and Wynston. Will this fairy tale have a happy ending? This is a chapter-length fairy tale filled with adventure, humor and wonderful play on words.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book, remedial reader

Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 10 and up

Interest Level: 10 and up

Reading Level: 4.8

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: This was a lot of fun to read. It has some predictable moments, but there are a collection of secondary characters - Sally, Masha, King Desmond, the citizens of Torrent, and Willie - who add plenty of humor. This is not a straight-forward once-upon-a-time fairy tale, and it does take about a chapter or two to get into the author's style. Once you do, though, you're rewarded with a great story.

Pros: Humor, wordplay, and vivid characters create a middle-grade fairy tale that is unique and fun to share.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a fun story with lots of humor and wordplay. You'll want to read it twice just to make sure you haven't missed some of the fun. Although this is a fairy tale, Lucy is a character boys will love too.

If You Liked This Book, Try: THE BEE-MAN OF ORN   RAIRARUBIA (The Rairarubia Tales, Book 1)   THE PRINCESS AND THE HOUND

Educational Themes: This is a great example of how fairy tales with traditional elements (castles, kings, princes and princesses) can still be fresh stories. The author has filled the book with humorous elements, from character and place names to specific descriptions (like the princess directory). Collecting these could be fun and engage for reluctant readers.

Literary Categories: Fiction - adventure, fairy tale, humor, middle grade

Date(s) Reviewed: March 2009

Other Reviews:


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