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ELSIE PIDDOCK SKIPS IN HER SLEEP by Eleanor Farjeon Kirkus Star


by Eleanor Farjeon & illustrated by Charlotte Voake

Age Range: 4 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-7636-0790-8
Publisher: Candlewick

One of the loveliest of tales (revived in a smaller-sized edition by Candlewick in 1997) is here given full-dress treatment. The story, a natural for read-aloud, tells of Elsie, who lived in Glynde under Caburn, and began skipping as soon as she could walk. She skips in her dreams, too, so well that even the fairies notice and invite her to learn the Long Skip, the Strong Skip, and the Skip All Together at the new moon on Mount Caburn. The fairies give her a special skipping-rope, with “sugardy candy” and “almond rock” handles that never lose their sweetness. Elsie continues to be the best skipper of all, even when she outgrows the rope, and children skip on Mount Caburn at the new moon long after Elsie becomes a woman and gives up skipping. But much later, when her name is forgotten, a harsh Lord wants to build a factory on Caburn. Elsie at 109 has a plan to thwart him. The rhythm of the jump-rope chants, the children’s guileless play, and the sprinkle of fairy dust make this tale irresistible. Voake’s bewitching ink-and-watercolor illustrations, mostly in the greens and duns of a misty meadow hill, capture Farjeon’s otherworldliness and utter charm. (Picture book. 4-9)