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Clever Beatrice: An Upper Peninsula Conte

by Margaret Willey
Illustrated by Heather Solomon

Published by Atheneum, 2001
32 pages
ISBN: 0-689-83254-0

Ages 4 - 8

A lively retelling of a French-Canadian conte tale from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan offers a twist on tradition, casting a young girl as its hero. When Beatrice and her mother run out of food and money, Beatrice sets off to challenge the rich giant on the other side of the woods, "who loves to gamble on his own strength." Three times Beatrice bets the giant that she can beat him in contests of physical strength, and three times Beatrice beats the gullible giant using her own strongest assets--a quick tongue and a nimble mind. In fact, Beatrice never has to lift a finger but leaves the giant convinced he's lucky to have gotten off so cheaply with the gold she's won. Beatrice's straight-faced besting of the giant in Margaret Willey's richly textured story is truly a delight. Heather Solomon's distinctive, graceful illustrations capture the physical contrast between Beatrice and the giant, and the interplay of giants with the human world, with understated humor that extends the spirit of this wonderful tale for reading alone or reading aloud. Winner, 2002 Charlotte Zolotow Award; Honor Book, CCBC Caldecott Award Discussion CCBC categories: Folklore, Mythology, and Traditional Literature; New Editions of Old Favorites; Picture Books for Younger Children.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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