Kirkus Reviews QR Code
CLEVER BEATRICE by Margaret Willey


by Margaret Willey & illustrated by Heather Solomon

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-83254-0
Publisher: Atheneum

A clever girl’s brains triumph over a giant’s brawn in this folktale from the northern US. Beatrice loves mental challenges and is a fast thinker, so when her family needs money, she is confident that the solution rests with the rich giant on the other side of the woods. The spunky girl walks right up to him and offers a bet that she can strike a blow harder than he can. He takes his turn, but then Beatrice tricks him into believing that she will destroy his door if she lets her fist fly. He declares her the winner without testing her. Twice more they bet on feats of strength, and each time the giant hands over his gold without Beatrice having to prove herself—he is that fearful of the amazing strength she claims to have. And in the end, both count themselves lucky—Beatrice that her family now has money to buy food and the giant that none of the things that Beatrice boasted of have befallen him. Readers will delight in the feisty Beatrice, a wonderful female role model who will let nothing stand in her way. Willey (Thanksgiving With Me, 1998, etc.) has crafted her tale so well that the reader can almost hear it being told by a storyteller around a crackling fire. Newcomer Solomon’s illustrations are a combination of watercolor backgrounds with details in collage. This style of illustrating makes the woodsy details of Northern Michigan pop out from the pages. Together, the author/illustrator team has created a heroine who proves that strength can mean much more than muscle power. (Picture book. 4-8)