Blueberries For the Queen
John and Katherine Paterson
Illustrated by Susan Jeffers
Ages 6 to 8
HarperCollins, 2004, 0-06-623942-7
The world is at war and William's entire family is doing all it can to help in the war effort. William's mother is working for the Red Cross, his father is working in a factory, and his brother is working on a farm growing much needed food. All William seems to be able to do is to have dreams of defeating Hitler. If only there was something real that he could do. Then the exiled Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands arrives in town and William desperately wishes that he could meet her, that he could do something for her.
Then the blueberries are ready for picking and at last there is something that William can do, something that he is not too young to do. Soon he is out picking the delicious sweet berries and he comes up with an idea. May be there is something that he can do for a queen after all - something and in case it is "peace work."
This heart-warming story about how a boy's imaginary world collides with the harsh reality of the real world is both delightful and fascinating. It is based on the true story of a little Massachusetts boy who gave the exiled queen of the Netherlands a basket of blueberries during her exile in America. Susan Jeffers inter-weaves a glorious tapestry of make-believe images with William's real home front world.
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