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The Paper Wagon
By author: Martha Attema   Illustrated by: Graham Ross
Selling Points: Dutch folktale, cooperation, Friesian
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Apr/01/2005
Pages: 64
Fiction Ages 7-9
Price:  $6.95
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At noon, they saw a hairy black spider at the side of the road.

The little hen pulled in the reins. "Halt! Stop!" she called.

The wagon stopped beside the spider.

Martha was born on a dairy farm in Friesland, one of the northern provinces in the Netherlands. The family used horses for work and play. She trained and worked as a kindergarten teacher and made up stories, puppet plays and songs for her students. In 1981, Martha immigrated with husband, Albert and three children to Canada. They settled in North Bay, Ontario. Albert worked as an engineer, the children went to school and Martha attended Nipissing University to obtain her teaching certificate. After graduating, she took creative writing classes and became a member of the North Bay Children’s Writers’ Group. She taught kindergarten for many years and today teaches grade one Language Arts, Drama, Music and Computers. Again Martha found herself writing songs, poems and stories for the students.

The members of the Children’s Writers’ Group, encouraged her to send her manuscripts to publishers in Canada and the United States. In 1995, she published her first novel, A Time to Choose. This war novel is set in Friesland and deals with the Resistance. Martha was delighted when her first book won the Blue Heron Book Award. Martha’s dream of becoming a published author had come true. Martha loves student feedback during school presentations.

Their children have grown up and left home. Albert and Martha have nurtured another dream. They always wanted to live off the grid and use solar and wind energy to power their home. In 2004 that dream came true. Together they built an off the grid straw bale home just outside the town of Powassan in Ontario. The house is super insulated, partially built with renewable resources and powered by renewable energy. They are self sufficient except for the propane tank that fuels the cooking stove.

In her new office, overlooking farmers’ fields, she feels inspired to write many more stories for young readers. The rooster has been kidnapped by the fox. What is the little hen to do? Go to the shed and build a paper wagon, that's what. With two Herculean mice in place of horses, the little hen heads for the fox's house deep in the forest. On the way, she is joined by a cat, a brick, a needle and a hairy spider, all desperate for a ride. Will they be able to complete the rescue?

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15 b&w illustrations
64 pages


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