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Mary Smith

by Andrea U'Ren

Published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003
32 pages
ISBN: 0-374-348-42-1

Ages 4 - 8

What did people do before alarm clocks were common? Andrea U'Ren's picture book sheds some light on a question one wouldn't necessarily think to ask but that has a fascinating answer. Mary Smith was the "knocker-up" in her town. Rising before dawn, she went from home to home awakening folks such as the baker, the train conductor, laundry maids, and even the mayor by shooting dried peas at their windows. "TINK!...TOC....PLIK PLOK!" Pea shooter in hand, Mary strides purposefully through the morning in U'ren's entertaining and informative story that ends with an unexpectedly humorous twist. A black-and-white photograph of the real Mary Smith, taken in 1927, prefaces the text. U'Ren's illustrations depict her subject wonderfully well from varying perspectives. The illustrations are slightly comic while capturing a sense of bustling town life in the early twentieth century. Highly Commended, 2004 Charlotte Zolotow Award CCBC categories: Historical People, Places, and Events.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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