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Seven for a Secret Hardcover – January 18, 2006

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3–City-dwelling Ruby exchanges letters with her grandfather, who lives in the country. She shares with him her excitement about the upcoming birth of a sibling and her fears over her father's loss of his job. Her grandfather in turn tells the child about the magpies that live near his house and teaches her The Magpie Song. Through their letters, her ailing Grampa shares his memories of Ruby's father's childhood and reveals a secret to his granddaughter. Then he passes away. Ruby and her family inherit his house and move to the country. Once there, Ruby remembers Grampa's secret: buried in the magpie tree, she finds a chest full of gold coins, ensuring that the family will no longer need to worry about money. This moving tale lovingly expresses the bond between a child and her grandfather. The story is accompanied by watercolor illustrations awash in soft pastels and outlined in pen and ink. Ruby's letters bear childlike drawings while the man's are typewritten. This sweet and tender picture book is good for one-on-one sharing.–Linda Zeilstra Sawyer, Skokie Public Library, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 1-3. A melancholy but loving exchange of letters between a grandfather in the country and his urban granddaughter ends with the elderly man's death, after which the girl, Ruby, discovers treasure he had hidden for her. Ruby finds the much-needed treasure, hinted at early in the story in a tiny letter covered by a flap,^B thanks to the magpies that were so dear to her grandfather. The fairy-tale ending feels jarring after the sadness of the story, in which the grandfather becomes increasingly ill, Ruby's father appears to be depressed, and the family receives an eviction notice. The pencil-and-watercolor pictures temper the sadness, though, as they take children through the seasons, supplying numerous details (Grandfather's dog, the girl's toy panda, and myriad bicycles) to look at in sweeping spreads of the city and the countryside. Kathleen Odean
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books; First Edition edition (January 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845073002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845073008
  • Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 9.8 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,566,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on October 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a touching and heartwarming story about a young girl's close bond with her grandfather. Grampa lives out in the country, and the little girl lives with her parents in a high rise in the city. The two correspond frequently through letters, sharing a Magpie song that turns out to quite significant later in the story. The little girl is elated when she discovers she is to be a sister, but is sad when she also learns that her father has lost his job. Grampa reassures her, though he himself is failing in health. The story does have sad elements in it, and deals with death, but it is also quite inspiring and the ending had both me and my preschooler smiling, sharing in the joy felt by the little girl. The watercolor illustrations are beautiful. Highly recommended for preschoolers and up.
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Format: Hardcover
Flat out exceptional. I would not have thought that the author of the Chimp & Zee books could produce an emotional punch like this. Epistolary fiction lives on! Buy this book.
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