The Birchy Maid

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The Birchy Maid

The Birchy Maid
Tuckamore Books
8 x 10 (hardcover)
ISBN 13:
# of pages:
32 pages
April 2013
Our Price
$ 19.95

Item Detail

  1. Overview
  2. About the Author
  3. About the Illustrator
  4. Book Review
  5. Excerpt
  6. Audio Book
  • Overview

    The Birchy Maid is a saucy, sensible, self-reliant heroine for the modern age! After she is rejected by her father, she flees to the forest, disguises herself and takes a position as a servant girl. When a handsome prince sails into her life she sets some unusual conditions for marriage.


    The Birchy Maid is a fairy tale for all ages, full of humour and wisdom.

  • About the Author

    Robin McGrath is a poet, novelist, essayist and reviewer.  A native of Newfoundland, she worked in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut for twenty-five years prior to moving to Labrador in 2006.  Her works include Donovan's Station and The Winterhouse.  She founded the letterset and visual arts studio Stone Cold Press in Goose Bay, NL.

  • About the Illustrator

    Rochelle Baker lives in a tall red house in downtown St. John's with Patrick, who writes his own poems, Annie, who sings her own songs, and Greta, who plays her own piano.  There are also sixteen fish who swim in their own tank and three cats who scratch their own itches.  During the fabulous summer when she was illustrating this book, Rochelle swam a lot up at the Punchbowl where she also found some great birch bark samples.   She has been drawing and painting ever since she was a small child and still feels like a small child when she is drawing and painting. In 2003, Rochelle illustrated The Boston Box (Tuckamore Books) by Carmelita McGrath.  When she is not mucking around with paint, Rochelle works at the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research and studies at Memorial University.  She's also been known to apply salt liberally when making soup.

  • Book Review

    "The illustrations accompany the text beautifully, supporting and enhancing the tale." (Joan Sullivan, The Telegram)

    "[The Birchy Maid] was whimsical and entertaining. The heroine is cunning, but she has a grace and kindness to her which is entirely endearing. We, as readers, become empathetically involved in her story. The tone and flow are perfectly suited to the style. The Birchy Maid is a highly engaging story with the ideal instance of comeuppance in the end.

    The illustrations are full of bright, saturated colours and complement the classic feel of the text. Especially charming are the ornately designed first letters on each page, at once unique and traditional."

    Amber Allen (CM Review)

  • Excerpt

    Once upon a time a little girl sat at a desk in a school in a small, old city and listened as her teacher told a story about a wealthy merchant who lived in the most distant outharbour in the land. This merchant had a handsome, loving wife and three clever, accomplished daughters and he was as happy as a man could be. His clapboard castle sat on a hillside overlooking his wharves, and at the top of it was a room with windows on all sides from which he could watch everything that went on around him. He could see the women stacking hay and making fish, and the men cutting wood and making barrels, and he could see his schooners sail out with thousands of kintles of Number One Spanish Choice, and sail in with all the treasures of the world. From there he could hear his wife making soup in the kitchen, and he could hear his daughters singing in the dairy and the laundry and the parlour, and he could hear the hollow boom of the coopers’ hammers rolling out over the water.
    But one day his wife felt ill, and the next day she took to her bed and within a week she had died and was buried in the cold ground and his happiness was diminished immeasurably. However, he consoled himself with the company of his daughters and took to counting his property. Sitting in his high room he opened a large ledger and wrote down everything he owned: the fields of potatoes across the harbour, the sheep in the meadow behind his house, the flowers and beans and herbs in the garden inside his fence, the schooners in the harbour and the barrels in the stores and the house itself. Each and every item he owned was written down and assigned a value and when he was unhappy, as he often was, he added up the total and reminded himself that he was a man of some substance.
    One morning as he was thus occupied, a thought came to him. There was something he had that he had not taken into account, and that was the love of his daughters. So he called all three of them to him and opened his ledger and, addressing his eldest daughter, he asked her how much she loved him. His eldest daughter was a thoughtful girl and anxious to please her father, so she pointed to the high mountain behind the house and said that her love for him was as high as that mountain. Her father sent his men out to measure the mountain and using a sextant they calculated the exact height of the mountain, and they reported it to the merchant and that is what he wrote in his ledger. 
    Next he asked his middle daughter how much she loved him, and the girl, who was a little timid, looked out at the tickle that ran between her father’s wharves and the outer islands and said that her love for him was as deep as the strait that lay beyond the harbour. Her father then sent one of his captains out with a sounding lead to measure the tickle and when he learned the depth of the water he entered that into his ledger. 
    Then he asked his third daughter, the youngest of the three, how much she loved him, and the girl looked at him sadly and said she loved him as much as soup loves salt. But there was no way to measure this answer, so the mad old man closed his ledger in anger and led his child to the door of his house and turned her out. She stood on the stoop for a moment, thinking what she might do and then without looking back, she marched quickly down the path, past the stores and flakes, and into the woods, not once looking up to see if her father was watching her from the windows of the high room.

  • Audio Book

    The Birchy Maid  is also available as an audiobook through Rattling Books. For more information click on the link below:

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