Mary Smith by Andrea U'Ren
(Bccb Blue Ribbon Picture Book Awards (Awards))

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Time to get up!

Did you ever wonder how people woke up in time for school
or work in the days before alarm clocks? In the early twentieth century, townspeople in England hired "knocker-ups" like Mary Smith for a few pence a week. Mary Smith traveled through predawn streets armed with a peashooter and a pocket watch, waking her clients at whatever hour they requested by plinking dried peas at their bedroom windows.

In rollicking words and pictures, Andrea U’Ren re-creates one busy morning in the life of her intrepid true-life subject – a morning when Mary Smith helps her town start its day in timely fashion, only to receive a rude awakening when she comes home. Could it be that the knocker-up’s own daughter has been sleeping in? Mary Smith is a 2004 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

About Andrea U'Ren

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Andrea U'ren is also the creator of Pugdog ("Good dog," praised Kirkus Reviews). She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Published August 13, 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 32 pages
Genres: Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Mary Smith

Kirkus Reviews

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Actual photos of Smith and another no-doubt-underappreciated community helper sandwich the author’s depiction of a large, confident looking woman making her morning rounds through a drowsy town, then returning home to find her own daughter under the covers—not late for school, fortunately, but se...

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Publishers Weekly

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Only slowly does U'Ren reveal the fictionalized Mary's career, slyly piquing the audience's curiosity about the protagonist's purposeful, pre-dawn stride around London.

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