- Age Range: 4 - 8 years
- Grade Level: Preschool - 3
- Lexile Measure: 470L (What's this?)
- Series: Bccb Blue Ribbon Picture Book Awards (Awards)
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (August 13, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0374348421
- ISBN-13: 978-0374348427
- Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,210,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Mary Smith (Bccb Blue Ribbon Picture Book Awards (Awards)) Hardcover – August 13, 2003
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3-In the days before alarm clocks, people like Smith had an important job in England-they were "knocker-ups," hired to wake the townsfolk for a few pence each week. The opening archival photograph establishes the woman as a historical figure, hand on hip, aiming a peashooter. What follows is a colorful tale of one day in her life, told with energetic prose and delightfully bold color illustrations. The peas hit windows: "TOCK! TOCK! TOCK!" "PLIK PLOK!" "CLICK CLACK SNAP!" rousing the laundry maids, the fishmonger, and the sleepy mayor, who sums up the contribution of the woman's humble work to the functioning of the community: "Without you- everyone would still be asleep in bed, no one would be working, and I wouldn't have a town to run-because everything would be shut down!" The ending has a humorous twist. Outlined in black, U'Ren's art has a clean, graphic appearance that perfectly complements the simplicity of the story. Particularly amusing are the expressions on the characters' faces. A historical note gives supplemental information about the real Mrs. Mary Smith and the role of the knocker-ups. A rollicking read.
Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
PreS-Gr. 2. Bulky Mary Smith strides through the streets with her peashooter, blowing pellets at people's windows. Mary is a "knocker-up," and her job is to wake people. The baker, the laundry maids, even the mayor are targets, and they wave to show Mary they're arising. But when Mary arrives home, her own daughter is still in bed. Has the girl, of all people, been allowed to oversleep? No, she's been sent home from school for awakening a sleeping child with her own peashooter. Kids who don't (or can't) read the flap copy may wonder what's going on at first, but they will soon figure out the "what" and, more slowly, the "why." The excellent afterword focuses on the real-life Mary and a few surprising facts about the first "wake-up calls." Set against a background of early-morning blues and grays and traditional English buildings, U'Ren's well-drawn characters are full of humor, especially the robust Mary, who takes her job seriously, indeed. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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Most knockers-up used long poles with wires attached on one end: they knocked the pole and scratched the wires against the window of their sleeping clients. Mary Smith, however, used hard dried peas and a hard rubber tube as a pea shooter. She shot the peas at each window until that person awoke.
Children will delight in the short, well-written text and the illustrations, and also in the fact that when Mary Smith gets home after her morning's work, she helps train her daughter to be an accurate pea shooter.
This book is really interesting because of the fact I knew nothing about "knocker-ups" and it is as Daniel Pinkwater attests, "Deceiving well done." It seems simple, but U'Ren in very few words made a book that is historical, educational, funny, and engaging. A great read for my budding reader, my son.
Highly recommended for the story and the art. Thank you NPR for bringing it to my attention!