Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mary's Penny by Tanya Landman

My partner works her buns off at her parent's farm. She grew up there, she feels a tremendous connection to the land, and she would love some day to live there again. When I watch her work (or work beside her as is more frequently the case), I see how hard she works and how much she gets done. Routinely she outworks me by accomplishing at least twice what I get done. Relentless and never resting, she is always on the lookout for jobs to accomplish on that beautiful piece of land.

Mary, the main character in Mary's Penny, reminds me of Laurie. Smart, hard working, and ever-invested, Mary figures out how to to outwit her brothers without even trying. Greater she proves again to her father, the witless dud, that girls can do what they set their minds to. Granted, of course, the father and brothers love Mary, but set in a time long ago (or not so long ago) when girls were seen as unworthy for many tasks, she was just a worker. Mary finds how to accomplish the father's task with ease and grace, and he adequately offers the prize to her.

This is a lovely, simple retelling of a common tale from years' past, but Tanya Landman brings new words and ideas to the table. The illustrator, Richard Holland, brings new light into this common story as well with his brilliant drawings. I loved this book, smile when I see the cover, and am scheming over who to share it with next.

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