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Down the Road Paperback – September 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3?Hetty has never been down the dusty road "all by herself" before, but one morning her parents decide she's old enough to fetch eggs in town on her own. The way is long, and she makes up sing-song "walking words" to amuse herself as she goes. She strides through a meadow, across a stream, and finally "...into the cool shadows of Mr. Birdie's Emporium and Dry Goods Store." On the way home, the eggs survive a close call but break when she is tempted to pick a "Papa-size" apple. Crestfallen, she climbs the tree and sulks until her father comes looking for her. They share the delicious fruit, and then Mama joins them on their perch. The next day, it's apple pie for breakfast instead of eggs. The lyrical, rhythmic text is rich with a warm, leisurely Southern feeling. Even when disaster strikes, there's not much to worry about. The story is both timeless and old-fashioned; the tractor, cars, and truck waiting for repairs in Hetty's yard and the credit card stickers in Mr. Birdie's window ground the rural setting in the present. The watercolor illustrations radiate an almost beachlike quality of blinding light, as well as offer the shadowy relief of intense and subtle greens, blues, and browns. Hetty is a sturdy, charming African American girl with pigtails, ribbons, and overalls. This story is so cozy and sweet that it makes readers thirsty-but Lewis's paintings go down like cool clear water.?Vanessa Elder, School Library Journal
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Ages 4^-8. A gentle story about the child Hetty, who sets off alone for the first time, down a dusty road to buy fresh eggs for her family's breakfast. On the way to the store, she practices her "smooth walk" so that the eggs won't roll around and crack in the basket she carries. On her trip home, everything goes well--until she spies an apple tree and decides to pick some fruit. As she reaches for the apples, the basket tips and the precious contents fall to the ground and crack. Disheartened, Hetty climbs the tree to a branch high above the broken shells. Before long, her worried parents arrive--first Papa, then Mama--and in a tender denouement, the three sit together in the branches, talking quietly until Hetty's confidence is restored. The story is remarkable for its evocative imagery, and the loving interchange between the characters sets a charming tone. The words are perfectly complemented by Lewis' dazzling, impressionistic watercolors that show the joyous power of love and depict a warmly supportive world in which Hetty ventures forth toward independence. A fine book that speaks straight to the heart. Shelley Townsend-Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152024719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152024710
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #293,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary on April 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Our family loves this book. It's a great example of forgiveness and families that work together to get us through the tough times. Our Afr. Amer. daughter particularly loves the beautiful pictures of this AA family.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This was a very good book. This story shows a young girl who is given the responsibility of going to the store alone. When she makes a mistake she is afraid to go home. The story showed how the young girl corrected her mistake. It also showed loving parents who were understanding and supportive. This was a great family story. The girl learns about responsibility. The illustrations were done in watercolors and are beautiful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Scott on August 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
Well, the title says it all. One of my favorite lines is Hetty jingling the money in her pocket and saying ...this must be what it feels like to be grown up-- to have money in your pocket and be walking down the road...

I'm a librarian and when I read this to kindergarten through third grade they are all hushed when Hetty drops the eggs. I mean, this is her first big trip to the store alone, and she has begged to go. And Papa has gone out on a limb for her and told Mama that she was big enough to go by herself, absolutely.

The watercolors by E.B. Lewis are magnificent. The best one of all is Papa standing at the bottom of the tree looking up at Hetty as if he were angry. The reader really doesn't know what will happen. Forgiveness happens. It's wonderful. Please read it to all the young children you know.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Way on April 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
Hetty is a well-developed character. Students who have failed at a task despite their best efforts can identify with Hetty. The realistic watercolor illustrations enhance the text and show the emotions that Hetty is feeling. This well-paced story gives an accurate depiction of life in the country. The onomatopoeia used in the story helps the reader to visualize the setting and Hetty's actions.
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By S. Legg on March 23, 2015
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best children's books I have read. My children are captured by Hetty as she proudly goes to the store by herself, they fully understand the gravity and importance of this trip. And when the eggs break, well, I think they would like to climb into a tree and hide too. But the best part of the story is the grace shown by Hetty's mom and dad. It's beautiful. The illustrations are beautiful too. I often tear up reading this book to my kids. Love, love.
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By Amazon Customer on March 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I an studying with EB Lewis so I bought this for the illustrations. He is amazing. I also like the story.
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Format: Paperback
Hetty is sent down the road to buy eggs for breakfast from Mr. Birdie's Emporium and Dry Goods Store. It is the first time by herself.
"Down the road, one and two, eggs for breakfast, how-de-do"

On the way home, she trips over a rock but even though the eggs spill from her basket they do not smash. However, when she decides to pick some nice juicy apples for the family, from the wild apple tree, all the eggs tip out of her basket and smash on the ground. So upset, she climbs the tree as she does not want to go home and tell Papa and Mama that there will be no eggs for breakfast.

There is such a sweetness in this story as Papa comes along, finds her and instead of yelling at her, joins her in the tree to eat apples. Then Mama comes along looking for them both and also joins them in the tree. No eggs for breakfast? No worries! They enjoy apple pie instead.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. This is an excellent story to demonstrate to children how to be versatile and make use of what you do have, not complaining about what you do not.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from our house to yours!
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