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GERGIE LEE by Sharon Phillips Denslow


by Sharon Phillips Denslow & illustrated by Lynne Rae Perkins

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: May 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-688-17940-1
Publisher: Greenwillow

Most main characters speak but in this delightfully charming story about J.D.’s summer on his Grandmother’s farm, the title player moos—Georgie Lee is a cow, and a right smart one at that. The opening chapter establishes the ambience when J.D. and Grandmother can’t understand why, on such a hot day, Georgie Lee is standing absolutely still in the cool creek. As they watch, little fish school under the cow’s spotted belly and, one by one, jump up and catch the flies crawling on her. When all the flies are gone, the full fish swim back to their hiding place, Georgie Lee has a long, cool drink and smiles as she heads back to her grass hill. The cleverly subtle writing meshes details and dialogue with homespun flair as in the incident when Grandmother climbs a tree to join J.D. and can’t get down. J.D. asks, “Did you ever see a cow up a tree?” Grandmother answers, “Not yet.” And sure enough, at the end of the story, there’s Georgie Lee, amidst tree branches. The delicate black-and-white drawings softly accentuate the episodes of symbiotic relationships between animals and people. “Why do tumblebugs make balls out of cow manure?” J.D. asked. In her unflappable wisdom, Grandmother answers, “Ever try rolling something that’s not round?” Country and city kids alike will grin over the trio’s encounters with a haunted house, a neighborhood goat, a giant catfish, and a huge storm in this deceptively simple first chapter book. (Fiction. 7-9)