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A BEAUTIFUL GIRL by Amy Schwartz


by Amy Schwartz & illustrated by Amy Schwartz

Age Range: 3 - 5

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-59643-165-2
Publisher: Roaring Brook

Successively meeting Baby Elephant, Robin, Fly and Goldfish en route to market, self-possessed “big girl” Jenna chats them up with aplomb. Acting much like preschoolers themselves, each animal assumes that Jenna should resemble it. Robin remarks on the girl’s “silly beak,” while Fly asks, “Where are your 100 eyes?” The encounters allow Schwartz to deliver, through her sturdy heroine, an incidental anatomy lesson perfectly pitched to her audience. Spare watercolor-and-ink illustrations contrast animal abilities with Jenna’s, as they exchange questions (“Do you pick up peanuts with your nose? Do you spray water on your back on a hot day?”) and answers (“ ‘Actually . . . with my nose I smell daisies and roses . . . I smell Mama when we hug’ ”). Schwartz reduces an elephant’s tail to a single-inked line tipped with a tuft of hair, and a beak to a yellow triangle. While the text makes Jenna’s fantasy plausible, the whimsical pictures extend it, offering bright, exotic flora, an outsized fly and an elephant ride for Jenna. Sweetly affirming. (Picture book. 3-5)