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  • Lucy Rose: Big on Plans
  • Written by Katy Kelly
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  • Lucy Rose: Big on Plans
  • Written by Katy Kelly
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On Sale: January 21, 2009
Pages: 192 | ISBN: 978-0-307-53797-3
Published by : Yearling RH Childrens Books

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Read by Tara Sands
On Sale: June 14, 2005
ISBN: 978-0-307-20719-7
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Lucy Rose is back! And she's got a summer filled with some very important plans!



June 1
92 is a lot of days. That is how many we have from the end of 3rd grade which was yesterday until the beginning of 4th grade which is on September 1. I know it is 92 days because I counted them on my Shiralee's Beauty Spot calendar. My grandmother who is named Glamma and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, sent it to me in the mail in a big brown envelope that said Lucy Rose Reilly, Queen of Capitol Hill and Washington, D.C., and also had sparkling rose stickers on it. Anybody who is not an absolute infant could tell that I am not a queen, but Glamma likes to act royally and so do I. She got the calendar for free because Shiralee is her sister and also the owner of the Beauty Spot. It came with a card that said: "Dear Lucy Rose, Put your plans on this. Love, Glam. P.S. I already marked one V.I.D. That means Very Important Date."
I wrote a thank-you note that instant because my other grandmother, that is also named Lucy Rose only I call her Madam, says that whenever I get a present I have to write a letter right away that very day if I'm going to have any manners at all. I pay attention to that recommendation because Madam is one who knows an extremely lot about living plus she is the writer of a newspaper column that tells people what to do if they have the kind of kids who won't behave.
Here's what I said: "Dear Glamma. Thank you! I needed a calendar like mad because one thing I am big on is plans even though at this minute I only have 3. Love, Lucy Rose."
One of those plans is to write down what happens in my almost never boring life in this journal that my grandfather who is called Pop gave me for an end-of-school present which I seriously needed because I already filled up the 2 books he gave me last year. When I got this one I said, "Yippee-yi-yo, cowgirl! This book is a beaut."
And it is because it has a swirl design that's the same as on my cowgirl boots. Plus it's red and they are too.
Here is what Pop said to me: "A beaut for a beaut."
My second plan is to go to Parks & Rec with my greatest friend who is Jonique McBee, and make a lanyard key chain out of Gimp for my mom's birthday that's on July 13 while Jonique makes a pot holder out of stretchy circle things for her mother only she is making hers just for love because Mrs. McBee's birthday doesn't come until January. I do not want to make a pot holder because I have done it before and most of the time just when you are getting finished with the weaving, it pops off of the pokey plastic thing and you can't get it back on no matter what you try. Plus I have never seen one of those pot holders that is not ugly but I am not telling that to Jonique because that would be rude which is one thing I am not.
I wrote PARKS & REC OPENS on the square of Monday, June the 8th, which is the Beauty Spot month for getting Carefree Hair which I already have. July is for Permanent Curls which are another thing I got automatically when I was born. August is when you're supposed to Get Romantic Hair, which I don't have and don't want. It's also where I found giant letters that say: "LUCY ROSE'S 9th BIRTHDAY ADVENTURE WITH DAD!"
That is my top V.I.D. for the whole summer.

June 2
Jonique and I are feeling desperate for it to be June 8. For now, we are 2 girls waiting, mostly at my grandparents' house. I spend a lot of my days and some of my nights at Madam and Pop's because it's 3 blocks away from my house and because my mom has to go to her job which is being an artist at a TV station and because I can't stay with my dad on account of he lives in Ann Arbor, which is where I lived before we got a separation last summer. Staying at Madam and Pop's house is A-OK because it's usually a pretty hilarious place to be.
My mom, who has the name of Lily, agrees with that because she lived there for her whole childhood with her sisters and brother who are all grown-ups now and live far away. My Aunt Marguerite lives so far away her house is in Japan.
Once I asked Pop, "Are you and Madam rich?"
And he said, "Rich in kids."
"My mom and dad are not because I'm the only one they've got," I said.
One extremely excellent thing about my grandparents' house is that there are lots of rooms plus lots of porches and Pop thinks it's fine for kids to climb out the bathroom window and walk across the breezeway roof to pick apricots which is our third big plan once they are ripe. My mom says she gets queasy thinking about it but Pop says not one body has fallen yet and Madam says she needs the apricots.
Another thing about their house is it's old like you can't believe. The ceilings are made of metal called tin that have patterns on them. In my room on my tin ceiling there is a big fan that makes it very breezy and refreshing. My regular room has red walls and a pink dotty bedspread and a mirror that I love like anything that is covered with jewels that are fake but look real and I made it with my mom and not from a kit, either.
The only not-so-hot thing about staying at my grandparents' is that Madam does not believe in cable TV even if it's the kind that is appropriate for kids and she does believe in health so she is big on soybean foods which are not the best tasting but she is also big on desserts which is pleasing to me and to Jonique.

From the Hardcover edition.
Katy Kelly

About Katy Kelly

Katy Kelly - Lucy Rose: Big on Plans

Photo © Matt Mendelshon

What made you want to write?
I come from a family of storytellers. My parents are both writers. Our dinner table has always been where the events of the day are reported with great hilarity or drama, sometimes both at once. That taught us about pacing, delivery, what works and what doesn't. We read a lot. Possibly because we had no TV.

So dinner was a long series of teachable moments?
We didn't know we were learning and my parents didn't know they were teaching. It was just dinner. My siblings and I were brought up to value original thinking, honorable behavior, laughter, and books. Our passions were taken seriously. They didn't dwell on our shortcomings–math, science, Latin. We were never described as aspiring. Michael was a writer, Meg an actress, Nell a scientist. I was an artist. Our titles expanded as our interests grew. Ultimately, three out of the four of us became writers. My parents became the models for Lucy Rose's grandparents, Madam and Pop.

How did you get into writing professionally?

I was working as an illustrator and walking the floors with our darling, relentlessly colicky baby when a friend called to ask if I would like a two-day-a-week job doing basic research and phone answering at People magazine. I would have done it for free.

I started covering parties for People and graduated to bigger stories. Six years and another baby later, I was hired as a feature writer for USA Today's Life section. Reporting taught me to write fast and to be frugal with words, and it let me ask questions that would be rude under any other circumstances. I spent time in Hollywood with movie stars, in Washington with the president, and in Mississippi with people who lived in houses that rented for $60 a month. No plumbing, no electricity, one good wind from toppling over. I learned to listen to what people were (and weren' t) saying, to understand what they cherished and what they feared. I can't imagine that I could write good fiction without having reported on so many real lives.

Where do you get your ideas?

In schools, on the subway, in the market. Something happens and it triggers an idea. My first book, Lucy Rose: Here's the Thing About Me, came about when, one night at family dinner, my mom said about her dog, "Poppy has been so much better since I've been telling her where I'm going and what time I'll be back." That struck me as hilarious. After they left, I typed the words: "My grandmother thinks her dog can tell time." The story took off from there. Until my mom said that I hadn't thought about writing a children's book. I tell aspiring writers to eavesdrop. It's a great way to get ideas and to get a sense of how people really talk. When you have something, write it down as soon as you can.

How do you write?
I follow the advice of that old Nike ad: Just Do It. Lots of people think about writing a book but say, "I don't have time," or "I'm waiting for inspiration," or "I want to get it worked out in my head first." If you want to write, carve out the time. If you write a page a day in a year you'll have the first draft of a novel.

What are the biggest writing mistakes people make?
Thinking bigger words are better words, becoming wedded to every word so they can't bear to throw anything out. Many writers repeat themselves. Say it once. Readers are smart. They remember.

How do you sharpen your work?
What works best for me is to write a bit, edit, make changes, write some more, and repeat from the beginning. When I finish a piece, I go through it once just to find and banish clichés. Then I run a search for the words very and really. They take up space and almost never help the writing. I read my work out loud. That is the surest, quickest way to tell if the voices ring true or the writing is lumpy.

Who are you favorite writers?
I have many. Katharine Patterson, Judy Blume, Lois Lowery, Dick King-Smith, P. G. Wodehouse, Ian Falconer, S. E. Hinton, Harper Lee, Daniel Wallace.

Your favorite book?
I can't pick a favorite. But I am in awe of Ernest Hemingway's six word short story: "For sale: Baby shoes, never worn."

Do you start with an outline?
No. But I do make a list of five or six things that are going to happen. Sometimes I change my mind, but the list gives me some direction.

Are Washington, D.C., and Capitol Hill like they are in the Lucy Rose and Melonhead books?
The neighborhood has been gentrified, but it is still full of families and dogs and shops and adventures. (Almost all of the places in the book are real.) When we were young, my brother and sisters and I spent our days roaming around the Capitol, playing pick-up soccer on the Library of Congress lawn and dropping in on the Smithsonian museums. We regularly climbed the 897 steps to the top of the Washington Monument and took so many tours of the FBI that the guides recognized us. When my dad was a young reporter, he used to meet Harry Truman at Union (train) Station and they' d do the interview while they walked. Washington is less free-wheeling now. Security is tighter, kids can't tour the FBI without an adult, you have to go through your Congressperson to get a White House ticket, and you have to take the elevator to the top of the Washington Monument.

Your family has lived on the same block of Constitution Avenue for generations.

It's been a good place to chart change. My dad was born at home in 1923. One of his earliest memories is seeing the KKK march past the house in 1925. He was two years old. In August 1963, when I was seven, thousands of people in the March on Washington walked the same route to hear Dr. King deliver his "I Have a Dream" speech. My mom was days away from having my sister Nell, and her obstetrician wouldn't allow her to walk that far. Instead she, my brother Michael, my sister Meg, and I passed out free lemonade and cookies all day. (My dad was reporting on the March for the Washington Daily News.) In January 2009 all of us, including my eight-year-old nephew watched hundreds of thousands of people walk past the house on the way to see President Obama get inaugurated.

Out of four Kelly kids, three became writers. What do they do?

My sister Meg is a screenwriter. For years she wrote for soap operas. Until recently she was the co-headwriter for Days of Our Lives.

My brother Michael reported for the New York Times, the New Yorker and the National Journal. He was a syndicated columnist, the author of Martyr's Day and the editor of the Atlantic Monthly. It is the great heartbreak of our lives that Michael was killed while reporting on the first days of the war in Iraq in 2003.

My sister Nell has the most important job in the family. She teaches kindergarten and first grade.

What do you tell kids who want to be writers?
Do it! I've met a lot of artists and singers and writers who were going to college to study business or teaching or dental hygiene. People, often parents, have convinced them that their passion is too risky for real life. Pursue the practical, they say, you can always sing in the church choir, paint on the side, write in your off-hours. Though said with love, this is lousy advice. Passions almost always stem from talent. And when you're talented and work hard, you get jobs.

How did you get your book published?
After I finished, I sent it to four agents. I have still not heard back from them. It was my great good fortune to have a friend who passed my manuscript on to his editor. That said, I do believe good books get published, just not as fast as one hopes.

What can a children's book writer do to find a publisher?
Join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. They have groups all over the country. Go to their workshops. Make contacts. Have faith.

Fun facts about Katy Kelly:

She has two children, Emily and Marguerite.

She married her college sweetheart. His name is Steve.

She has a dog named Ellie. When Katy was a kid, she had a big, black French Poodle named Gumbo. He appears in the Lucy Rose and Melonhead books.

She lives in Washington, D.C.

She loves visiting schools.

She spends much of her money at bookstores.

She is wild for ice cream and chocolate and especially chocolate ice cream.

She is anti-cauliflower.

She draws and paints.

Her office is in her house. It is pink and green and jazzy.

If she could choose one extra talent, it would be singing.

Her mom, Marguerite Kelly, is the author of The Mother's Almanac.

Madam and Pop are now celebrities in their neighborhood.

About the author
Katy Kelly is the daughter of writers. She and her siblings grew up on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., five blocks away from the U.S. Capitol, four from the Senate buildings, and three from the U.S. Supreme Court.
She was a reporter and editor for 20 years before becoming an author.


"Spunky and precocious, this 8-year-old is much more than the sum of her antics."—Child Magazine

"Girls ready to graduate from Barbara Park's bestselling Junie B. Jones series . . . will welcome frank, funny Lucy Rose."—People

"This genuine girl and her amicable family provide another palindrome for Lucy [Rose's] collection. This book is 'top spot!' "—Booklist

"Wow! Readers are going to love that Lucy Rose . . . and want more. It's the perfect read after Junie B.!"
—Patricia Reilly Giff, author of the Kids of the Polk Street School books
Teachers Guide

Teacher's Guide


Lucy Rose is very unique, except she’d be the first to tell you that is not the right thing to say because you either are unique or not but you can’t be very unique–though if someone would qualify Lucy Rose would be it. First, there’s Lucy Rose’s fashion sense. She likes color–pink, orange, yellow, green it all looks good on her, especially on the same day. Plus, she likes words. Lucy Rose collects palindromes and words that knock her colorful socks off. But Lucy Rose is worried about some things too, like the fact that her parents are separated and how she lives in Washington, D.C., 500 miles away from her dad and old friends. Plus it’s not easy being the new girl or trying to make new friends, but Lucy Rose is a girl that will face the challenge with her red boots on!


It is summer and Lucy Rose is trying to fill her days by making a lanyard keychain and solving her grandfather’s problem with squirrels. But there’s an even bigger problem that goes by the name of Ashley, the new girl who is so snarky! Plus, Lucy Rose is trying to stop her parents from deciding on a divorce. That is a whole lot of problems for one girl in one summer but Lucy Rose will give it her all!

Family & Relationships
Friendship • Growing Up
Emotions & Feelings • Humor • School

Grades 3–5


Here’s the thing about Katy Kelly: If you look at Lucy Rose’s life and then look at Katy’s, you’ll see that in some ways they’re very similar. Katy grew up on Capitol Hill and had a dog named Gumbo. Her parents are very much like Madam and Pop . . . and she’s an original thinker, at least according to her dad. Now working as a writer, Katy Kelly has worked as a reporter for People magazine, a feature writer for the Life section of USA Today, and was a senior editor at US News & World Report. She comes from a family of writers. Katy’s mom, Marguerite Kelly, is the author of The Mother’s Almanac and the syndicated column, The Family Almanac. Her father, Tom, wrote for the long-gone Washington Daily News and her brother, Michael, was a syndicated columnist and the editor of the Atlantic Monthly. Her sister, Meg Kelly, is an Emmy Award-winning television writer. Katy, her husband, and their daughters, Emily and Marguerite, now live in Washington, D.C.


Ask the class: What activities do you most like to do in the summer? Do you ever get bored in the summer?

Encourage students to complete these activities as they read:
• Fill out the chart on the next page about the characters from Lucy Rose: Big on Plans.
• As you read, make a list of the words that are new to you. Then try to use them as you are speaking that day or even in a sentence that you write. Make a chart where you rate the words in these categories: never heard it, sounds familiar, could give a definition, could use in a sentence.
• Lucy Rose, Melonhead, and Jonique are trying to solve Madam and Pop’s ultimate squirrel problem in the apricot tree. As you read, place a sticky note over the cause and effects of this adventure. Remember that everything that has an action has a reaction. Discuss the results as a class.

• Create a Venn diagram that compares Ashley to Lucy Rose. What (if anything) do they have in common? How are they different?
• Have students keep a journal inspired by Lucy Rose’s journal. They should record at least one entry for each day. Remind them to not only describe what they did (though that’s a nice start!) but what they think, feel, remember, and wonder, too!


Do your students have questions for the author about her writing and characters? Have them e-mail her at AskKatyKelly@gmail.com today!


Lucy Rose: Here's the Thing About Me
PB: 978-0-440-42026-2

Lucy Rose: Busy Like You Can't Believe
PB: 978-0-440-42108-5
Delacorte Press
HC: 978-0-385-73319-9
GLB: 978-0-385-90338-7

Lucy Rose: Working Myself to Pieces & Bits
PB: 978-0-440-42186-3
Delacorte Press
HC: 978-0-385-73408-0
GLB: 978-0-385-90425-4

Delacorte Press
HC: 978-0-385-73409-7
GLB: 978-0-385-90426-1

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