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Birthday Wishes (Portraits of Little Women)

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9780385327091: Birthday Wishes (Portraits of Little Women)
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Celebrate each of the March girls' tenth birthdays in this colorfully illustrated collection of four tales with cake recipes and assorted activities.

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About the Author:
Award-winning author Susan Beth Pfeffer, has written over sixty books for children and young adults. She began her career in 1970, with the publication of her first book, Just Morgan, which she wrote her last semester at New York University.
Ms. Pfeffer's books include middle-grade novels (The Pizza Puzzle), historical fiction (Nobody's Daughter and its companion volume Justice for Emily), and young adult novels (Family of Strangers and Twice Taken). Her young adult novel About David was awarded the South Carolina Young Adult Book Award.
Her young adult novel The Year Without Michael, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and winner of the South Carolina Young Adult Book Award, was named by the American Library Association as one of the hundred best books for teenagers written between 1968-1993.
Susan Beth Pfeffer is also the author of the popular Portraits of Little Women series. Created for readers grades 3-6, each of the books in the series captures one of the beloved March sisters from Little Women--Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy--at age 10. These unforgettable heroines experience the joys and sorrows of sisterhood, family life, and a changing America.
Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Chapter 1

Meg," Marmee said, "would you run an errand for me?"

"Of course, Marmee," Meg replied. It was a lovely spring day, and Meg March could think of nothing better than to have an excuse to leave her schoolbooks and go outside.

"I just realized we're low on flour," Marmee said. "And Hannah wants to bake some bread for tomorrow. Could you go to the grocer and pick some up?"

"How much do you need?" Meg asked. She felt especially good that Marmee had asked such a favor of her, for in just a few days, Meg was going to celebrate her tenth birthday. She was growing up, and Marmee was now trusting her to run errands on her own.

"Five pounds," Marmee replied. "If you think you can manage that much."

"I'll go with her," Jo volunteered. "Then Meg can carry half and I can carry the other half."

"Could I go too?" Beth asked. "Then Meg and Jo wouldn't have to carry nearly so much."

"I want to go as well," Amy said.

Marmee smiled at her daughters. "What good girls you are to offer to help your big sister."

"Does that mean we can go?" Jo asked.

"It certainly does," Marmee replied. "Meg, keep an eye on your sisters. Make sure you all hold hands, and be careful if any horses and carriages go by."

"Yes, Marmee," Meg said. She couldn't explain why, but she no longer felt excited.

Marmee got out her purse, found some coins, and began to hand them to Meg.

"I want to hold the money!" Amy cried. "Please!"

"Very well then," Marmee said. "But you must be very careful with it, Amy. We can't afford to lose even a penny if we're to have bread tomorrow."

"I'll be careful," Amy declared. "I'm a big girl."

Jo laughed, and even Beth smiled. Only Meg wasn't amused. If Amy, the youngest of her sisters, held the money, and each of them pitched in to carry the flour, it didn't matter that she was almost ten and the one Marmee had singled out to run the errand.

Marmee dug through her purse again. "What do we have here?" she said. "Four pennies. One for each of you to buy some candy."

"Thank you, Marmee!" Jo shouted.

"There's no need to yell," Meg said. "Thank you, Marmee." She tried very hard to sound like a lady, but her voice was so low, she was sure Marmee couldn't hear her over Beth's and Amy's squeals of excitement.

"Be careful, girls," Marmee said as Meg left the house, followed by her three younger sisters. "Don't forget to hold hands."

"We won't," Meg promised. "Jo, take Amy's hand. Beth, you walk with me."

"I want to walk with you," Jo said. "Not with Amy. I want to tell you an idea I had for a story."

"I want to walk with Meg too," Amy said.

"Then, Jo, you take my left hand, and, Amy, you take my right," Meg said.

"Whose hand should I hold?" Beth asked.

"Jo's," Meg said, but then she realized they'd be walking in a horizontal line, with Beth near the middle of the road. "That won't do at all," she said. "Jo, take Amy's hand. Beth, you walk with me."

"I don't want to walk with Jo!" Amy cried. "She walks too fast. I want to walk with you."

"Meg walks faster than I do," Jo said. "She's taller, and her legs are longer."

"But you run everywhere," Amy whined. "I want to walk with Meg."

Meg sighed. "Amy, take my hand. Jo, you and Beth walk together."

"But Bethy always walks so slowly," Jo grumbled. "And I do like to run. Why can't Beth and Amy both walk with you, Meg, and I'll run on ahead."

"Because Marmee said we were to walk together, holding hands," Meg said.

"I'm sorry I walk so slowly," Beth said. "I'll try to speed up, Jo. I'll even run."

"It's hard to run holding hands," Jo replied.

Meg realized they had scarcely walked ten feet from their house. She caught a glimpse of Marmee looking out the window, undoubtedly wondering what was keeping them from going into town.

"We have an errand to run," Meg said. "We're getting nowhere standing around fighting over who holds whose hand. Jo, take Amy's hand. Beth, you walk with me."

"If I have to walk with Jo, I'm not going," Amy said.

"Fine. Stay home." Meg held out her hands. "Come, girls. Beth, take my left hand, and, Jo, my right."

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