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THE STRAY by Dick King-Smith


by Dick King-Smith & illustrated by Wayne Parmenter

Age Range: 7 - 11

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-517-70934-1
Publisher: Crown

King-Smith (see review, above) leaves behind guinea pigs of all manner, pigs who herd sheep, and cats with pets to tell the story of a stray--not a mongrel, but a kindly, 75-year-old woman named Henrietta Hickathrift. When Henny runs away from the old-age home (with only a penny to her name), she escapes to the beach and writes "I AM A STRAY OLD WOMAN" in the sand. Discovered by five red-haired children, the Goods, she is take home and "adopted" as their housekeeper-turned-grandmother. Neither toothache nor burglary dampens the spirit and spunk of the good-natured Henny, who introduces the children to prawn-and-mayonnaise sandwiches, grows a money plant, and ultimately wins the lottery. Throughout, Parmenter provides black-and-white scenes that show these folks to be just as lovely as King-Smith says they are. In the well-known breezy style readers have come to expect, the author pens with wit and wisdom a sunny story of family and friendship in which good things come to Good people. (Fiction. 7-11)