- Age Range: 4 - 7 years
- Grade Level: Preschool - 3
- Hardcover: 40 pages
- Publisher: Clarion Books; First Edition edition (August 15, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 061857493X
- ISBN-13: 978-0618574933
- Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 10.3 x 0.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,508,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lizzie Nonsense Hardcover – August 15, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2–Lizzie lives with her mother, father, and baby brother in a small, isolated house in the Australian bush. Her father has taken his sandalwood into town to sell and will be gone for weeks. Lizzie passes the lonely days by indulging in flights of fancy, turning a fallen tree trunk into a mighty steed, baby's bath into the wide blue sea, and her clutch of wildflowers into a bridal bouquet. Her mother dismisses her dreaming as nonsense, but her own need to imagine surfaces on Sundays, when they dress in their best and walk back and forth on the track, pretending they have been to church. Ormerod has based this story on the experiences of her grandmother and mother, and the warmth of the reminiscences has an authentic ring. The text is simple yet evocative, emphasizing the parent-child relationship, while the skillfully rendered watercolors bring the unique setting to life as kangaroos and dingoes wander through the landscape. The book works nicely as a satisfying story of the value of imagination, familial affection, and an introduction to pioneer life.–Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
PreS-Gr. 2. Like Eve Bunting's Dandelions (1995) and Deborah Hopkinson's Packet of Seeds (2004), this strikingly illustrated picture book captures the loneliness, hard work, and stark beauty of pioneer life, but here the setting is the Australian bush. After Papa leaves on a long trip, young Lizzie, Mama, and the baby are alone in the little house. Lizzie's vivid imagination brightens the tedium of daily tasks: instead of turnips for dinner, Lizzie envisions "peaches and cream," and instead of tattered mending, she imagines a dress "with lots of frills and lace and bows." Her practical mother calls her daughter's dreaming "Lizzie Nonsense," but Mama imagines, too, when she dresses in Sunday best and pretends that the family is strolling to church. This Australian import is more situation than story, but its simple language has a smooth cadence that's just right for reading aloud, and Ormerod's ethereal watercolor illustrations, layered with sun-spotted textures, powerfully evoke the history, the heat, the dust, and the brave, strong family. A poignant title that extends the pioneer story beyond the American plains. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Lizzie's imagination is fun, but it contrasts deeply with life in the bushlands: "Tonight,"says Lizzie, "we will eat peaches, and cream, and little sweet cakes." "Such nonsense!" says her mama." We are having turnips, as usual. When Lizzie and Mama mend their clothes, Lizzie (matter-of-factly and with no apparent self-pity) says that she making a dress "with lots of frills and laces and bows." "What an imagination," says her mama. In an especially poignant scene, author/illustrator Ormerod shows that even the admonishing mom needs some fantasy: Every Sunday they "put on their best clothes" and walk along the track and back, pretending that they're going to church.
While this story of struggle on a non-American frontier doesn't sentimentalize, there are some bright spots that could be excellent discussion points. Lizzie and her mom have a close relationship, out of necessity, yes, but also out of their shared experience. There's also the implicit beauty of the land. Ormerud's beautiful and evocative watercolors show the play of light upon rich foliage, playful kangaroos and the dusk-lit forms of marsupials and dingoes, the warmth of the fire and the oil-lit lamp. At the conclusion, they hear the jingling of Papa's horses, and out of an orange-colored dawn they see him approaching. They run excitedly to meet him, and Ormerud has another, even more warm round of affection and disclaimer:
"You're as pretty as a picture, Beatrice," says the father.
"And you," he says to Lizzie, "are as brave and pretty as your mother."
"Nonsense!" says Lizzie.
Warm, funny, yet realistic and historical, this 33-page book would make a wonderful addition to the school or home library.
Whenever Lizzie announces a new make-believe idea, her mother comments, "Nonsense, Lizzie!" But Lizzie will not be deterred. She rides the limb of a tree, reins attached to a branch, a paper crown on her head; when baby is having a bath, Lizzie sings, "You're afloat on a boat on a big, wide sea"; while her mother tends the garden, Lizzie fancies herself a bride, a garland of flowers in her hair; and when her mother prepares the usual fare of turnips for dinner, Lizzie announces, "Tonight we will eat peaches and cream and little sweet cakes".
Although Mother pretends that Lizzie is full of nonsense, the little girl brightens their world, awaiting her father's return, lifting their daily drudgery into light-hearted banter. Even on Sunday, Lizzie's mama indulges a bit in fancy herself, as they dress up in their best clothes, walking along the road, pretending they have been to church. Mother and daughter think their minds are playing tricks when they hear the jangling of a harness, but, indeed, it is Father returning to his family.
The combination of pictures and prose tell a charming story of life years ago in the bush, where dingoes howl at night and nature's presence is part of the landscape. The mind of a child creates a fairy-tale ambiance, bringing joy to her family and to young readers who learn of the early struggles of families in a sparsely populated country, turning hardship into fables, the magic world of imagination. Luan Gaines/ 2005.