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Smart Girls in Picture Books: World of Words

Another 3Rs post. That is reuse, recycle, repurpose!! Again, it is one I wrote a decade ago (plus a month almost, in January 2011). And realized it is all about smart girls, each clever in their own right. Hence added that to the older and much-repeated blog title (on my blog) to retitle is as Smart Girls in Picture Books: World of Words Wednesdays.

These reviews were written towards a reading challenge called Read to Me – Picture Book Reading Challenge at the time.

To Then and Back Again

Flashback To Then

I was reading my DD’s (she is almost 5) current favorite books to her last night (and the night before and the night before… you get it) – these were random picks at the library at our last visit and proved great hits with her. We have renewed them twice already (so they have been with us over 6 weeks now) and now I have to return them soon.

Fast Forward To Today

Today, I don’t need to read to my DD but I do enjoy reading with her, or rather trying to read the same books as her. Thanks to the Gilmore Girls watching that we are doing together, she is starting to work on reading off the Rory and Jess reading lists online. And we have kind of started an impromptu book club among the three of us (my teens and I) where we hope to read these books and discuss them, or well, whatever!

The Smart Girls in Picture Books

Note that these reviews are as they were written in 2011 (with minimal edits – typos and formatting mainly); since my8 yo and 5 yo precocious kiddos (as referred to in the reviews below) are actually 18 and 15 now!!

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Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School

Book Info

Title: Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School
Author: Herman Parish
Illustrator: Lynne Avril
Length: 32 pages
Genre: Children’s Fiction/Humor, School(4 – 8 years)
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (June 23rd 2009)
Source: Library


Amelia Bedelia is sure she will love everything about the first day of school: new friends; new teacher; her own desk; music, books, gym, art; recess and lunch. Amelia Bedelia can’t wait. What could be better? School! School! Hooray for school!

Our Thoughts

Amelia Bedelia is certainly a favorite series – the book from the series we are reading now is ‘Amelia Bedelia’s first day of school’.

She is funny! Her excitement is contagious and her sense of humor wonderful (how awesome it would be if I developed that sense of humor at least for a day! – will make life smooth sailing for me). She appeals to the child in you and your child so perfect for reading to your child.

Both my kids (my 8-year-old son and my almost 5-year-old daughter) loved her from the start and laughed at every page. Her perpetual confusion amused them and the way she understood people literally was hilarious (The teacher wants her to stay still and asks her to ‘Please glue yourself to your seat’ and Amelia Bedelia just does that).

Overall, a book I recommend for all kids dreading to start school or starting a new class or just for laughs.

Get It Here

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Little Diva

Book Info

Little Diva

Title: Little Diva
Author: LaChanze
Illustrator: Brian Pinkney
Length: 32 pages
Genre: Children’s Fiction/Performing Arts(4 – 8 years)
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (May 11th 2010)
Source: Library


Curtain up! Light the lights!

Nena wants to be a Diva—with a capital D—just like her mommy, who’s a star on Broadway. She wants to sing and act and dance, but knows it will take lots of work—and lots of fun—for all her wishes to come true.

Tony Award-winning actress LaChanze and Caldecott Honoree Brian Pinkney present a showstopping story about a day in the life of a little diva with BIG Broadway dreams.

Our Thoughts

The other book I read to her was ‘Little Diva’ – perfect for my DD  – she being a little diva herself (in the real sense of being a diva as the book portrays and also a little in the way most people look at a diva – a little bratty; and I mean that in the sweetest way possible, well, sometimes annoying too).

The beautiful, flowing illustrations appeal to all and show simplicity and sophistication together. The book shows the effort that goes into being a Broadway star (or a diva) –you need to eat healthy, exercise, practice, and work as part of a group ensure that all backstage activities progress smoothly. Nena, the D.I.T. (Diva in Training) is eager to learn and feels that all this is fun, not work!

There is a positive message in this book that everyone can benefit from – love your work and work hard at what you love and it no longer a ‘bore chore’ but instead it is ‘tons of fun’.

A personal favorite part of this book is where Nena’s mom gives her kisses on her forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin before she leaves her to perform for the night show on Broadway. This struck a chord with us, as this is exactly our daily routine when DD leaves for school each day and before she goes to sleep (and I had not read this book at all when we established the routine at home).

The book also includes a CD with songs from the author and the story as well which we have played over and over again already.

Get It Here

 Book Depository || BookShop || IndieBound

Clever Katya

Book Info

Clever Katya -- Smart Girls in Picture Books

Title: Clever Katya: A Fairy Tale from Old Russia
Author: Mary Hoffman
Illustrator: Maire Cameron
Length: 32 pages
Genre: Children’s Fiction/Multicultural(5 – 9 years)
Publisher: Barefoot Books (October 1st 2005)
Source: Library


With a Solomon-like wisdom far beyond her seven years, young Katya helps her father solve a riddle posed by the Tsar.

Our Thoughts

The last book (it did take three whole books last night to settle my DD down!) is Clever Katya – a Russian fairytale (though I think it falls more in the category of a folktale). With its crisp storytelling and illustrations in rich colors portraying the characters, it is a wonderful book to read aloud.

When a rich man and his poor brother argue over who gets a newborn foal, they approach the young tsar for advice. He asks them four riddles and lets them know that whoever answers them correctly will keep the foal; and the poor brother’s young but wise 7-year-old daughter has the answers!

Here are the riddles for you to try and you can read the book for Katya’s answers! ‘What is the fastest thing in the world, what is the fattest thing in the world, what is the softest thing in the world and what is the most precious?’

Get It Here

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Smart Girls in Picture Books: World of Words Wednesdays

More Smart Girls in Picture Books

Here are some of the reads I shared before (not all though) about smart girls in picture books; I will add to the list as I recall more of them…

Words of the week

[Again: From the original 2011 post, with minimal edits]

My 8-year-old son was reading ‘The Phantom Tollbooth’ that week a decade ago, and the words we picked were from that book:

  • Palatinate: A palatinate or county palatine is a territory administered by a Count palatine, originally the direct representative of a sovereign, but later the hereditary ruler of the territory subject to the crown’s overlordship.
  • Dodecahedron: In geometry, a dodecahedron is any polyhedron with twelve flat faces, but usually a regular dodecahedron is meant: a Platonic solid composed of 12 regular pentagonal faces, with three meeting at each vertex. It has 20 vertices and 30 edges.

For more information on the words, you can refer to wikipedia where these definitions are taken from.

The Wordless Wednesday Part (Almost)

Smart Girls in Picture Books
The cover of ‘Clever Katya’ (reviewed today) and my rendition of the same (my DD helped too!

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, have you read any of these books? Or similar ones, or others in the series (for Amelia Bedelia), or about other smart girls in picture books? Your thoughts, comments, and recommendations, are, as always, welcome!!

46 thoughts on “Smart Girls in Picture Books: World of Words

  1. I absolutely must read "The Little Diva"! That definitely sounds like my kind of book. I think your DD will enjoy a book that I'll be reviewing soon — "The Very Fairy Princess" by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, and will definitely enjoy the next one in the series, due out this sprint, "The Very Fairy Princess Takes the Stage" (as a ballerina).

    I have recently read "The Phantom Tollbooth" for the first time — it was a recommendation from my writing coach. Isn't it wonderful?

    Thank you for visiting my blog, so that I, in turn, could discover your blog!

  2. I love that you repurposed one of your older blogs for today’s post. The books are timeless and even though your children are now 10 years older, you were able to give great value to your readers again with much of the previous material.

    Just think, in 10 more years if you once again repurpose this same post, where your children will be in life–and in 20 years, you may be sharing this book list for your grandchildren. Such is the power of the content you create.

    Thank you for sharing!

  3. I don’t think I have read any of them, but I have heard good things about Amelia Bedelia. What a neat idea to do the Rory and Jess reading list!! How I wish I’d known of it or thought of it when we were still homeschooling.

  4. Wow, so many great books to read with my kids today but will go first for First Day of School because it’s beautiful and I like the strong personality of Amelia.

  5. I keep a running list of what I label “Strong Girls/Strong Women” at Goodreads. Books that fall into the picture book category with strong girl leads include Brave Irene by William Steig; The Old Truck by Jarrett Pumphrey; The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything; and Madeleine by Ludwig Bemelmans.

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