What You Need to Know:|
• Lucy tries to figure out how to control her temper when she keeps getting into trouble at home and at school.
• Lucy and her family live in Australia but her parents were born in Holland so Dutch traditions are sprinkled
throughout the story.
• In the back of the book, you will find a glossary of Dutch words and a recipe for Dutch cookies.
• Originally published in Australia, in 2009, Lucy the Good, is the first in a series. The second, Lucy the Lie Detector,
came out in Australia, in July 2010.
• The Worry Tree, also by Musgrove, was a 2010 Children’s Book Council of Australia notable book.
Lucy lives in Australia with her mom, dad, her little brother, Calvin, and some chickens that stay in a coop in her backyard. Her mom works, her dad stays home and her brother likes yellow. Why he likes yellow is never really explained, although it does result in him wearing a banana costume when they go to the airport to pick up their Great Aunt (Tante) Bep, who flew in from Holland. Lucy’s parents are also originally from Holland, so Dutch foods, traditions and language play a roll in the story. Seven year-old Lucy has been getting into trouble a lot, and it only gets worse when Tante Bep arrives. Bep is difficult to please and seems critical of everything she sees, especially Lucy. Sometimes it’s Lucy’s own fault, like when she decides to climb onto the baggage carousel at the airport. Sometimes, it’s just Tante Bep’s assumption that she’s done something wrong, like lying about her brother being allergic to eggs. Lucy’s problems extend to school where she’s also been having tantrums. The mean girl, Jacinta, teases her, other kids join in, the teacher never seems to notice, and Lucy’s frustrations escalate until she explodes. After Tante Bep tells Lucy a spine-chilling tale about Black Piet, who travels with the Dutch Santa Claus and will put her in a coal sack and take her to Spain if she doesn't behave, Lucy begins to wonder if she’s really bad. Things improve with Tante Bep when she teaches Lucy to bake Dutch cookies, but it isn’t until Lucy opens up to her parents about everything that’s been going on, that she begins to feel good about herself again. She even comes up with some strategies to better manage her anger. Although the story reminds me a bit of Clementine (including the whimsical illustrations), it is not quite as funny or clever. Some pieces are missing, like why Lucy refuses to use public bathrooms and a connection between Lucy and her mother. That being said, Lucy is an entertaining, although willful, character who will keep readers interested in this short chapter book. It is also unique, in the inclusion of the Dutch cultural elements and, in the back, readers are encouraged to write down how they handle their own angry moments. As long as you know your reader won’t be freaked out by Tante Bep’s story, Lucy the Good should be a comfortable choice for kids ready to enjoy chapter books on their own.
2010, 144 pages
Behavior, Bullying, Ethnicity/Culture, Family Life, Friendship, School
• Why does Lucy keep getting into trouble? Is it her fault?
• How does Lucy’s life in Australia seem similar to your life? How does it seem different
• Does Lucy mind that her mom isn’t around much?
• Did you like Tante Bep? Would you like her to visit your house?
• What could Lucy have done differently to avoid some of her problems?
• Are you like any of the characters in this book? Would you be friends with any of them in real life?
• Was it interesting to learn a little about life in Holland? What are some stories, foods or traditions that are special in
• Why do you think that Calvin likes yellow?
• Have you ever gotten into trouble? What does it feel like? Can you do anything to avoid it from happening again?
• Have you had a friend, teacher or relative that made you feel that you were bad?
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