Slightly True Story of Cedar B. Hartley.jpg

The Slightly True Story of Cedar B. Hartley

Written & Illustrated by Richard Egielski

A debut to remember! 

Cedar B. Hartley is exasperating and potentially infamous.

She steps on cracks. She plans to live an unusual life. She is the winner of her school’s Bat Pole Championship (which she made up). She misses her brother Barnaby, who ran away, and who sends her postcards from all over the country. Her mom says she’s like a bull at a gate, and she’s definitely a hopeless winker - both eyes go at once, like a blink.

But Cedar B. Hartley has potential. She knows the difference between touching and touching on a couch. She knows the long distance between an idea and a real thing. And she has a green thumb for people; people like Ricci, the Yugoslavian lady next door, whose dog needs an operation. Like Caramella, her best friend, who never guesses when you ask, “Guess what?” And like Kite, a boy she meets with a voice like a river.

This is the story of girl unraveling her own mysteries, learning to be an acrobat, and changing the world for everyone around her.

Reviews and Awards

New York Public Library’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
Shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award
Shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award
Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Books
Children’s BookSense 76 Selection

⋆ “In her debut novel, Australian writer Murray creates a true original in Cedar B. Hartley, a 13-year-old girl who has her own way of overhauling the ordinary state of things. Her puddle of eccentric friends includes Oscar, who has suffered brain damage; the bird boy, with whom Cedar forms an acrobatic team; and neighbors of all ages. … [B]e charmed by Cedar's ferocious joy, intolerance for phonies, and devotion to her family and friends. You have a green thumb with people, Oscar tells Cedar. If these winning characters are any indication, Murray does, too.” - Booklist, starred review

⋆ “In this tender growing-up story from Australia, 12-year-old, "exasperating and potentially infamous" Cedar B. Hartley misses her older brother who ran away from home, wonders about the circumstances of her father's death 11 years ago, and nourishes a friendship with Kite, boy acrobat. ... With unique and fully realized supporting characters and a multiethnic, urban environment, this story vibrates with authenticity. At a crucial moment, Cedar thinks, "Sometimes life hits you at such a startling lightning kind of angle, that you get pushed off your normal viewing spot. You stop knowing how things are. Instead of what you know, there are the patterns that stars make; the sound of the night breathing; the small aching spot where your feet touch the earth. You think that if there is an It, you and It are nearly touching." This unique, vulnerable, and hugely likable protagonist has the potential to push readers off their "normal viewing spots." Small, wonderfully quirky line drawings accompany this breezy yet serious novel, which includes an amusing glossary of Australian terms.” - School Library Journal, starred review

⋆ “An ordinary suburb populated by ordinary, if eccentric, characters is made extraordinary by Murray’s vivid writing. Cedar’s charming voice, the strong sense of place, and the author’s interior drawings add up to a superb first novel.” - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Cedar narrates this captivating first novel with a remarkable originality of expression.” - The Horn Book

“Murray is capable of startling power.” Publishers Weekly 

Purchase Options
Amazon • Barnes & Noble

Summer 2003
Middle Grade Novel
ISBN: 0-439-48622-X
Price: $15.95/$23.99
Trim Size: 5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Page Count: 240
Foreign Rights: Allen & Unwin PTY LTD
Translation Rights: Allen & Unwin PTY LTD
Rights Available? yes

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