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Children's Fiction General

Stretch, Swallow and Stare

by (author) Veronika Martenova Charles

Fitzhenry and Whiteside
Initial publish date
Jan 1999
General, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 1999
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 6 to 10
  • Grade: 1 to 5


Stretch was not like other people. She could stretch her body taller than the tallest tree. People didn't trust her because she was different. That's why she lived in the forest

Swallow could eat more food than anyone. The villagers made fun of her because she was short and fat. That's why she left town.
Stare's eyes were so strong they could burn through anything she looked at. Everyone was afraid of her. That's why she stayed alone.
And then there was Ira - small, skinny, and short-sighted - with nobody in the world to help him search for his missing sister.

Somehow these four unlikely characters come together and overcome all obstacles - even the most evil magic in the land.

Veronika Martenova Charles has drawn upon an old Czech fairy tale to create her own contemporary story about the strength of friendship and the value of being different.

About the author

Veronika Martenova Charles was born behind the Iron Curtain in Prague, Czechosloavakia. As a teenager Veronika formed a pop act with a friend and learned to sing Western rock and roll. On a return trip from a tour in Cuba she stepped from her plane as it refueled in Gander, Newfoundland, and decided to stay in Canada. She studied at Ryerson University and the Ontario College of Art. Since 1991 Veronika has been writing and illustrating children's books full-time.

Veronika Martenova Charles' profile page

Editorial Reviews

Both text and illustrations make a statement about being different. The themes stand out boldly...
- School Library Journal

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