Amy's Three Best Things (Hardcover)

By Philippa Pearce, Helen Craig (Illustrator)

Candlewick, 9780763663148, 40pp.

Publication Date: November 12, 2013

List Price: 15.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


In a tale both comforting and magical, a child finds a way to calm her worries during a first visit away from home.

Amy may never have spent a night away from home, but today she declares that she wants to spend not one but three nights at her grandma’s house. So she packs a bag, and off she goes. During the day, she and Grandma have a lovely time, but when Amy is alone in bed she starts to miss her mother and her baby brother and their dog, Bonzo. Luckily Amy has brought her three best things for a visit, which offer a heartening taste of home — in the most remarkable ways! From the stellar creative pair of Philippa Pearce and Helen Craig comes a wonderfully reassuring bedtime tale.

About the Author

Philippa Pearce is one of the twentieth century’s greatest children’s writers. Her books include Tom’s Midnight Garden, winner of the Carnegie Medal; The Squirrel Wife, illustrated by Wayne Anderson; and A Finder’s Magic, created for her two grandsons and illustrated by their other grandmother, Helen Craig. Philippa Pearce died in 2006.

Helen Craig is a widely acclaimed illustrator of books for children, including This Is the Bear by Sarah Hayes, One Windy Wednesday by Phyllis Root, The Yellow House by Blake Morrison, A Finder’s Magic by Philippa Pearce, and the hugely popular Angelina Ballerina stories by Katharine Holabird. Helen Craig lives in England.

Praise For Amy's Three Best Things

Young readers will certainly identify with Amy’s concerns and applaud her ingenious and imaginative way of coping. Craig’s lovely pencil-and-watercolor illustrations match the tone beautifully with scenes of happy daytime activities and pajama-clad magical night journeys. Tender and reassuring and just right for bedtime.
—Kirkus Reviews

Brisk acceptance of the reality of difficult feelings and understated humor make this a fine handbook for children on their way to new and strange places.
—Publishers Weekly

The lightly colored pencil drawings are gentle and sweet, and bring to mind the imaginative nighttime journeys of other picture-book characters like Max and Mickey. Pearce paces the story expertly, telling readers that Amy has packed three special things, but not revealing what they are until they are needed. ... [A] deeply reassuring tale about the nature of family and unconditional love. A lovely choice for one-on-one reading.
—School Library Journal

This is a comforting story about the consistency of family, and how even when you cannot see them, they are still there waiting. The pace is gentle and the illustrations are soft and delicate, perfect for bedtime reading. Share this with any child nervous to sleep away from home.

Pearce and Craig pack a lot of emotion and truth into this gentle story. Familiar things can change in a new location, or is it that we ourselves change? Even the bravest of us can weaken in the middle of the night. ... This is a world of little crosshatched cottages in pastel colors, comfortably-shaped grandmas who bake, playgrounds that still have teeter-totters, and little girls who can solve their own problems.
—The Horn Book

Craig’s wide oblong pictures show enticing night scenes of starry skies over sleeping English villages; her sunlit domestic interiors and grassy playgrounds are full of pastel-colored details — exciting, but not alarming, as a visit with a grandparent should be. … The little girl’s new confidence, so deftly expressed, may inspire apprehensive children to try similar weekends away from home. But there’s more to this story than just that encouragement; more than enough to return to for repeated reading.
—The New York Times Online

Amy ... packs up her trusty teddy, her pajamas and three mysterious objects — her “best things” — and bravely embarks on her adventure. With more than a touch of magic, those three things help her through sudden bouts of nighttime loneliness. Helen Craig couches the fantasy in sturdy down-to-earth illustrations of a thatch-haired youngster, a comfy cardigan-clad Grandma and a tidy landscape of houses snuggled around the village green. And while there’s a moment of genuine anguish, the final scene of Amy astride a carousel dragon is the perfect ending to this gentle story about growing up and growing brave.
—The Washington Post