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Roberta Olsen Major
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Rosemary wakes up every single day in the same little room in the same simple cottage, where her twin always manages to be a little too perfect, and her mother always manages to make messes of magic. Nothing exciting ever happens in Wister Woods.
But that's about to change...
Because now there's a bear in the flower bed claiming he's an enchanted prince, and demanding that somebody change him back!
My mother was enchanting.
Not the “Oh, my dear Fern, you are so beautiful and enchanting” kind of enchanting. No, it was more the “Pass me the eye of newt and tongue of frog” kind of enchanting.
Of course, eye of newt and tongue of frog were a little too exotic for our household budget, so my mother was substituting with “eyelet of boot” and “dung of hog”.
I didn’t expect her results to be quite what she was hoping for.
I wasn’t wrong.
The three of us--my mother, my twin, and I--lived in a little cottage in Wister Woods.
The nearest village was Little Barrel, made up of a few dozen buildings and maybe forty people max. The buildings were saggy and grungy. Unfortunately, so were the villagers. And they had a hearty suspicion of both Wister Woods and anything that lived there. Aside from the run-of-the-mill forest creatures: rabbits, deer, birds, and fairies, that pretty much meant us: Fern, Vanilla, and me, Rosemary.
When we went into the village on market days, we were greeted with scowls and dirt clods.
But we still went into the village on market days.
Little Barrel was just an insignificant freckle on the face of the Kingdom of Wist, but it was our insignificant freckle. It didn’t matter whether we loved it or hated it. What mattered was that we’d never leave it.
Or so I thought.
Mother was at it again when I pushed open the cottage door and tromped in, wiping at a mud splotch on the back of my tunic.
It wasn’t a market day, but I’d been to Little Barrel anyway.
Brother Veracity had an arm on him worthy of a pro baseball player. Too bad baseball was still several hundred years off.
So how did I know about it? Well, it was described in detail in section eight of my mother’s Book of Future Worlds--under the subheading: “Recreational Activities For Those With Nothing Better to Do”. I was fascinated by the future--as well as by the thought of having nothing better to do. Future worlds sounded a lot more interesting than the one I was living in at the moment. Who wouldn’t prefer video games, fast food, and shopping malls over herb gardens, mashed turnips and outdoor toilets?
“--comfrey leaves and lobelia petals, equal parts, stirred widdershins--” Mother stood over a bubbling cauldron, her round cheeks flushed as red as apples, tendrils of white hair curling into corkscrews around her face, mumbling to herself.
“--a speckled toadstool fresh from the shady side of a rowan tree.” She squinted, and fumbled through the jumble of things on the trestle table. “If I could just find my glasses,” she murmured. She patted her head, found them, slid them down to her nose, and sorted through the items on the table again.
“Oh dear,” she said to herself. “No speckled toadstool. And it was already smelling like a winner.”
Any second now, I was going to hear--
“Rosemary! I need an ingredient! Would you be a dear child and--”
“--go find it for you?” I finished for her. I gave one final swipe at the mud. “Sure. Why not?” I thought longingly of The Book of Future Worlds, which I’d shoved under the cushion of the window seat a few hours earlier. I’d rather have gone back to reading about such exotic creations as potato chips and toilet paper, but duty called.
“Sweet child,” Mother murmured.
“Vanilla is the sweet child,” I said. “I'm the other twin.”
She looked up at me with a hint of her old sharpness, but it faded as fast as a snowflake on the nose of a dragon. “Both of my daughters are sweet,” she said vaguely. “In their own sweet ways.”
Leaving her cauldron over a too-hot fire and her clutter of ingredients and kitchenware spread out all across the table, she headed to her small room at the back of the cottage, murmuring to herself.
Business as usual.
Roberta Olsen Major wore out two toy typewriters as a child before her parents decided it would be more frugal to provide her with the real thing. Throughout junior high and high school, she used two fingers to tap out lurid, angst-filled stories peopled with impossibly beautiful characters speaking highly improbable dialogue.
After earning a BA from Brigham Young University, she worked as a librarian in sensible shoes, before switching her Major to the care and feeding of a scientific husband and two charming children.
A published playwright and reviewer of children’s books, she now lives in Texas, where she collects dust, gets taken for daily walks by her faithful Schnauzers, and is, as always, working on her next book.
The Ice Cream Crone: “…a galloping romp of hilarity on a quest of pure enjoyment. Roberta Olsen Major delights her readers with wit, puns, and good old silliness… filled with the perfect combination of chivalry and joviality… Life, love and the pursuit of laughter reign…” --Joyce Handzo, In the Library Reviews, October 10, 2003
The Ice Cream Crone: “… takes ‘happily ever after’ a hop, skip and a jump farther, leading the child in us all on a merry romp through ‘what if’.” -- Pam Ripling, author of Locker Shock!
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 148
Paper Weight (lb): 6.6
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