Blueberries for the Queen

by Katherine Paterson, John Paterson, and Susan Jeffers

When his brother Roger announces that a queen has moved in up the road, William knows... read more

When his brother Roger announces that a queen has moved in up the road, William knows he’s joking—there aren’t real queens in the U.S.A. But it’s true! The year is 1942, and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and her family are spending the wartime summer in New England. William longs to meet the neighboring royalty. Struck with inspiration one morning, he sets out with a basket of freshly picked blueberries. Upon arriving at the queen’s temporary home, he is assured by the woman who meets him at the door that his gift of berries is just what the Queen needs. To his surprise, the woman at the door is a princess, and the Queen herself is a “plump, white-haired lady in a regular old dress” who smiles “just as his own grandmother would have.” A concluding historical note describes author John Paterson’s childhood experience of delivering blueberries personally to Queen Wilhelmina while she was renting a Massachusetts home with her daughter and granddaughters. The Patersons’ charming story is enhanced by illustrations showing the products of William’s active imagination as it is sparked into overdrive by the proximity of royalty. His visions of a fairy-tale queen in a crown and ermine robes, a turreted castle, and himself as a knight in armor riding a white steed are delightfully balanced by the reality of an ordinary-looking woman with the extraordinary title of Queen. (Ages 5–9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2005

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