Children's Lit Book Reviews

Monday, February 1, 2010





























Heckedy
Peg

By: Audrey Wood
Publisher: Voyager Books
Copyright: 1987
Pages: 32
Reading Level: 4-8
Genre: Picture Book/folk tale

"An original fairy tale containing traditional elements and illustrated in the same style as the author-artist team's ebullient, Caldecott Honor-winning King Bidgood's in the Bathtub"
-Kirkus Review



Summary: In a country setting there was once a mother who lived very poorly. She had seven very well mannered children, and they were always willing to help their mother with the daily chores. There names were Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. One day these children did such a great job with doing their chores that their mother decided that she would reward them with a special gift of their choice from the market. This immediately made the children happy and they each knew exactly what they wanted. Monday asked for butter, Tuesday wanted a pocket knife, Wednesday wanted a china pitcher, Thursday asked for a pot of honey, Friday wanted salt, Saturday wanted crackers and, lastly Sunday asked for egg pudding. The only stipulations that their mother left them were to play safe, to not touch the fire and to not let any stranger in.
Shortly after their mother left, an old witch named Heckedy Peg came knocking on the door and tricked the children into breaking each of the rules set by their mother. Then Heckedy Peg turned each child into some sort of food. Monday became bread, Tuesday became pie, Wednesday became milk, Thursday became porridge, Friday became fish, Saturday became cheese and, lastly, Sunday became roast ribs. Once the mother returned home from the market she instantly noticed her children were gone and was told by a blackbird that Heckedy Peg had kidnapped them and placed a curse upon them in which they became food. When the Mother showed up at Heckedy Peg's cottage, she was told several times she couldn't come in because of her dirtiness.
Finally, the worried mother tricked Heckedy Peg into thinking that she had cut her feet off. Once she got inside, her task at hand was to guess which of the children were which food in order for the curse to be taken off of them. Taking a step back she looked at her basket and matched each gift to the food. Magically, the children were transformed back into their normal selves, and the mother jumped to her feet. Together the mother and children chased Heckedy Peg all around and Heckedy Peg finally jumped off a bridge and was never seen again.
Who would benefit from reading this book?: The readability of this book is at a level at which anyone could read it and enjoy it. The illustrations are well done and have been well thought out. There are many great themes and lessons that are taught within this book. Two of them are to first listen to your mother and follow directions, and the second would be that there are always consequences after disobedience.
What problems/conflicts would this book potentially cause?: I don't think that there are many problems or conflicts with this book. One potential problem could be that initially a child reading the book could get frightened of the mother having to cut of her feet.
My reaction: This book kept a smile on my face the whole time I read it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading each of the pages and looking at the illustrations. I especially loved how the mother was able to break the curse by matching the food type with what the child wanted. Even though the story might be a little predicable, it is a good story for any teacher or parent to read to their children. I recommend this to everyone.

posted by Jon Dale at 9:19 PM

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