"Andy and Dolores tangle as they try to negotiate their bumpy friendship. . . .An upbeat volume for confident beginning readers." — The Horn Book
The school Culture Fair is coming up, and Andy Shane has to pick an African country to learn about. Deciding isn’t easy for Andy, so he’s glad when Granny Webb gives him a scarab beetle, which he knows is a symbol of Egypt. But when Andy tries to tell Ms. Janice, Dolores Starbuckle springs up with her gold jewelry and glitter sandals and claims that she is the queen of Egypt. Dolores always gets her way — but this time Andy doesn’t feel like caving in. What will it take for him to share his project with the bossy queen? Fans of the endearing Andy Shane will be happy to see him holding his own in his new early-chapter-book adventure.
About the Author
Jennifer Richard Jacobson is the author of several books for children and young adults, including the middle-grade novels Small as an Elephant and Paper Things and the Andy Shane early chapter books, illustrated by Abby Carter. She lives in Cumberland, Maine.
Abby Carter is the illustrator of all the books in the Andy Shane series as well as My Hippie Grandmother by Reeve Lindbergh. She lives in Hadlyme, Connecticut.
Jennifer Richard Jacobson grew up in a family of storytellers. “My brothers,” she says, “had the ability to make us laugh until our bellies hurt. I wasn’t as hilarious, but I learned how to take the mishaps in life (especially the embarrassments) and turn them into a dramatic story.”
Author of the Andy Shane series, Jennifer says that she can sympathize with both Andy and his counterpart, Dolores. Like Andy she can be a dreamer, a planner—someone who likes to take time to think things over. But like the boisterous Dolores, she’s also persistent. Once she’s decided on a goal, she doesn’t give up.
When writing stories, Jennifer often begins with a specific memory, a kernel of a story that she wants to expand and explore. But the idea for her middle-grade novel Small as an Elephant came to her in an unexpected way: “Ten years ago I was at a writer’s conference and the instructor (Virginia Euwer Wolff of Make Lemonade fame) suggested, as an exercise, that we try writing an irresistible beginning. I had a rush of an idea: What if a boy on a camping trip crawled out of his pup tent and discovered that his family (I didn’t yet know who he was camping with) and the camping equipment were gone? I shared this beginning with the other writers, received an enthusiastic response, and then let the idea go. Or tried to let it go. But it wouldn’t let go of me. Who was the boy? Why was he abandoned? I had to write the book.”
Jennifer is also the author of another middle-grade novel for Candlewick Press titled Paper Things. She lives in Maine with her husband and Jack Russell terrier.
Three Things You Might Not Know About Jennifer:
1. She sings her favorite childhood songs when she runs.
2. She was called “Jeffie” until she was eight years old.
3. She cries at the end of every good story.
Read an Excerpt
I Am the Queen
Andy Shane parked his bike and shifted the weight in his backpack. "Let's meet by the tree when the clock says three," he said.
"I will ride my bike, or we will have to hike," said Granny Webb.
Granny and Andy had been talking in rhymes all morning. It was hard to stop once you got started.
"Oh, wait!" said Granny.
"Don't be late," said Andy, waving good-bye.
"No, really," called Granny Webb. "I have something for you."
Andy turned back to see what Granny was pulling from her pocket. Whatever it was appeared to be on the end of a long gold chain.
"Oooh," said Andy, moving closer. It was a dark green bug frozen in clear plastic. "A beetle!"
"A scarab beetle!" said Granny.
"Is this Egyptian?" asked Andy.
Andy knew that the scarab beetle was important to the people of ancient Egypt.
"I think so," said Granny Webb, handing it to Andy. "I knew you were thinking about African countries last night, and a memory of it popped into my head while I
was heading off to bed!"
Andy laughed at Granny's rhyme.
"Thanks," he said, and he headed into school.
"What do you think of my new sandals, Andy Shane?" asked Dolores Starbuckle as they sat down at their desks.
"Cool," said Andy.
"I made them myself with milk cartons and glitter," said Dolores. Andy noticed that Dolores Starbuckle was particularly fancy this morning.
"I hope each of you has chosen an African country," said Ms. Janice. "We need to get ready for the school Culture Fair."
Dolores Starbuckle sat up as tall as she could.
"Polly," said Ms. Janice with her pen in the air, ready to write, "what country would you like to learn about?"
"Kenya," said Polly. "My uncle went to Kenya."
Kenya was a large country with deserts and rain forests. Andy had almost chosen Kenya.
"Ahmed?" asked Ms. Janice.
Ms. Janice told the class that The Gambia was a small farming country. Andy thought he might like to be a farmer one day.
Andy touched his pocket. "Egypt," he said softly.
"I'm sorry, Andy," said Ms. Janice. "I didn't hear you."
"I think he said Ethiopia," said Dolores. She was always trying to be helpful.
"Is that right, Andy?" asked Ms. Janice.
Andy shook his head.
"Do you mean Nigeria, Andy Shane?" said Dolores. "I think you mean Ni-geeeeee-ria."
"Egypt," Andy said more loudly.
"But you can't choose Egypt," said Dolores, springing out of her seat. "I'm wearing my white Egyptian clothes and my gold jewelry. I even made sandals. I am the QUEEN
The class laughed.
Andy slumped down on his desk. Why did Dolores Starbuckle always insist on getting what she wanted?
But he couldn't argue with her- not in front of the whole class!
Andy knew everyone was waiting for his answer. He wished he could disappear altogether.
"We'll work this out later," said Ms. Janice. She finished calling on the children. Then she told the class to line up for a visit to the library, where they could begin their research.
"Andy Shane," she said, "you're line leader."
Dolores stood in front of Andy.
"Andy Shane, you know I loooove Egypt!" she said. "I even have a model of a sphinx!"
"What's a sphinx?" asked Polly.
"A statue. Mine has a lion's body with a bird's head," said Dolores.
"Weird," said Polly.
"But I have this," said Andy. He pulled out the beetle.
"Oooh," said Dolores, admiring the necklace. She sighed a long, deep sigh. Then her face brightened. "Can we work together, Andy Shane?"
Andy didn't know what to say. He liked to take his time with ideas, see how they felt. And right now, he did not feel like giving Dolores her way.
"I'll think about it," he said.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is about a little boy who wants to do his project on the same topic as a girl in his class. At first he doesn't want to work with her, but then she proves to be a great help and they become friends.