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Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains Hardcover – August 26, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–6—An adventurous young milkmaid named Lucy decides to climb the Scratchy Mountains to learn more about her mother, who vanished many years before. At the top of a mountain she discovers a town dominated by unnecessary rules, where the weather runs on schedule, and the townspeople live in alphabetical order. Lucy's friend Wynston, who is the prince of their small town, and who is supposed to be looking for a suitable princess to marry, follows her up the mountain and helps her rescue her pet prairie dog. As they work together, their spirited friendship blossoms. Ultimately, they discover that it's okay to bend rules if not break them. This fairy tale, set in a time "before television and interstate highways" in the land of Bewilderness, has appealing characters who grow and develop; clear, accessible language; lively dialogue; and a light humorous tone. While the pacing is a little slow and the central message somewhat heavy-handed, children may enjoy the whimsical setting and the sweet friendship that blossoms between the protagonists.—Mari Pongkhamsing, St. Perpetua School, Lafayette, CA
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From Booklist

Combining elements of a fairy tale and a folksy yarn, this story follows the parallel journeys of two young friends. Lucy, “the loveliest little milkmaid in the village of Thistle, or anywhere else in the Bewilderness,” misses her daily jaunt with Wynston, the crown prince whose father now insists that he attend to matters of state, specifically “princess-finding.” After Lucy takes off alone for the Scratchy Mountains, Wynston defies his father and follows her. This chapter book offers likable characters within a simply written, well-paced story. Magical elements, such as the river that flows up one side of the mountain and down the other, seem not just imaginative but also believable in the context of this childlike adventure story. With its spacious page design and the promise of illustrations (not seen, though the jacket art is charming), the book will appeal to many children in the middle grades as well as younger children reading at this level. Grades 3-5. --Carolyn Phelan

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 6
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375847197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375847196
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #942,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I've been writing pretty devotedly, in one form or fashion, since I was about seven. In the fourth grade, I announced to the world that I planned to become "rich and famous writing books and plays for children!" Then I intended to adopt every stray dog and cat in the city of Baltimore and move them all into an old mansion, not far from where I lived.

Well, I'm not rich by any means, I live in a rather small brick house, and I only have one cat, but I am (blessedly) writing books for kids, and I couldn't be more amazed or delighted.

Most days I spend with my sons (who are tiny) smeared with peanut butter, finger paint, and silly joy. But late at night, I write these books... and I hope you'll read one...

And if you like that book, (or even if you don't) I hope you'll write to me, and say hello!

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rie Sheridan Rose on December 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I saw a description of this book on Ms. Snyder's website, and was intrigued enough to go hunt it down. What a lucky find that was! From beginning to end, the book delighted me. The characters are well-drawn and realistic without being predictable; the plot is natural and flows smoothly; the book is one of those rare "one sitting" volumes where you know you should be doing something productive, but you would rather finish reading. If I had children, this would become one of those favorite bedtime stories. But even without the excuse of little ones to read it to, I adored this book. Highly recommended for all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. Gephart on October 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains proved delightful. It was a wonderful blend of old and new. The spunky heroine had me at hello. There were surprises at every turn and delicious use of language, including some fun songs created by the main character during her journey. I'd recommend this satisfying tale to readers of all ages. Can't wait for Ms. Snyder's next novel!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Little Willow on March 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Are you ready to go on an adventure up and down the Scratchy Mountains? Then come along with Lucy, a young milkmaid determined to find her mom, who used to live up there. It's a fun and funny trek, and easy to take. All you have to pack is this book and your sense of whimsy!

Lucy's mother has been gone for years, and while her father and older sister have quietly adapted to life without her, Lucy is certain that she can find her mom and convince her to come back home. She packs lightly, leaves a note for her sister Sally, and sets out. Meanwhile, her best friend, Wynston is about to go on a journey of his own. This reluctant prince has been told he has to find a princess to marry. Suddenly, he decides to shake off the expectations of his royal father and the crown, and he leaves the castle on his favorite horse, Sprout, on a self-imposed quest to find Lucy instead.

Forget the idea of a mild, meek milkmaid - Snyder's young protagonist is strong, smart, and sure-footed. Lucy remains undeterred, even when the going gets rough. Optimistic and fun-loving, she is apt to break into song at any time, either giving voice to the songs her mother taught her when she was little or spontaneously singing about whatever she's doing or seeing. Though the terrain is tricky, Lucy always manages to find her way. She's also a bit of a Pied Piper, attracting a furry little creature she names Cat (that's really a prairie dog!) and trying to take care of him as well as Rosebud, the cow she brought along from her farm at the last minute.

Laurel Snyder's first novel for young readers, Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains, or, The Search for a Suitable Princess, is full of promise and levity.
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