Say What? Nellie May Has Her Say by Cynthia DeFelice
NELLY MAY NIMBLE LIVED IN A TINY COTTAGE IN THE BOTTOMS WITH HER PARENTS, SIX YOUNGER BROTHERS AND SIX YOUNGER SISTERS.THERE WAS NEVER ENOUGH FOOD TO FEED SO MANY HUNGRY MOUTHS.
"I'M OLD ENOUGH TO EARN MY BOARD AND KEEP," NELLY MAY NIMBLE TOLD HER PARENTS.
"AND I HEARD THAT LORD IGNASIUS PINKWINKLE NEEDS A NEW HOUSEKEEPER AND COOK."
Nelly May is a gal with gumption, and soon she's bundled up her few belongings and sets off up the hill to seek her fortune.
Lord Ignatius Pinkwinkle is hiring, all right. But the conditions of employment are downright strange.
"I HAVE SPECIAL NAMES FOR THINGS, AND I EXPECT YOU TO USE THEM WHENEVER YOU SPEAK TO ME," he said.
"CERTAINLY, SIR," said Nelly May.
"FIRST AND FOREMOST, YOU ARE NOT TO CALL ME 'SIR.'
YOU ARE TO CALL ME 'MOST EXCELLENT OF ALL MASTERS.'"
A bit pompous, but all right, thinks Nelly May, but even this eager employee is taken a bit aback by Lord Pinkwinkle's nomenclature--his bed is a slumberific, and his trousers are limberjohns. His fireplace is pop-and-sizzle and his dog is his fluffenbarker and wigger-wagger. Nelly May herself is his fuzzy-dust-and-fooder, and her mop bucket is a wet scooperooty.
Hmmmph! thinks Nelly May. But she is a clever girl and readily masters the Pinkwinkle lingo on pain of losing her job straightaway if she misspeaks. All goes well with Nelly and the circumlocutions until the day disaster strikes--and so does Nelly May Nimble!
With the aid of the peerless Henry Cole's illustrations, Cynthia De Felice's Nelly May Has Her Say (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2013) works its way felicitously through the paces of John Jacobs' classic English folktale Master of All Masters, (A Thistle book) in which Nelly May, confronted with the daunting and tongue-twisting task of trying to tell her boss that the house is on fire, negotiates a more reasonable contract with Lord Pinkwinkle, "Most Excellent of All Masters," hereinafter to be known as "Pinky." Cole's homey cottage and self-important Pinkwhistle ensconced in his manor are classic comic art, and DeFelice's retelling with all new silly substitutions is just as witty as the original. "Jocular and sparking with energy, an old tale gets a new turn," says Kirkus in its starred review, and the stars comes out in School Library Journal's and Booklist's reviews as well.
Labels: English Folklore (Grades K-3)