Cover image for Agapanthus Hum and the eyeglasses
Agapanthus Hum and the eyeglasses
Cowley, Joy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Philomel Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
44 pages : color illustrations ; 22 cm
Agapanthus struggles to do handstands and other acrobatic tricks while wearing her eyeglasses, which have a tendency to fall off as she cavorts about.
General Note:
"Author of Mrs. Wishy Washy .
Reading Level:
570 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.5 0.5 28478.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.2 2 Quiz: 24047 Guided reading level: K.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Meet Agapanthus Hum. That running, cartwheeling, humming whirlwind. But when she goes flying, so do her eyeglasses. Not even wearing a bag on her head when she flips over helps. Leave it to good little Mommy and Daddy to come up with an idea. Of course, this "is" Agapanthus Hum we are talking about!. Full-color illustrations.

Author Notes

Cassia Joy Cowley is a New Zealand language and reading specialist. She was born on August 7, 1936, in Levin, New Zealand.

She has written more than 500 books for beginning readers, many of which have been honored internationally. The Cheese Trap won the AIM Children's Book Award for Best Picture Book (1996) and Red-Eyed Tree Frog won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Best Picture Book (1999). She has won New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards for Best Junior Fiction for Ticket to the Sky Dance (1998) and Starbright and the Dream Eater (1999). The Mouse Bride (1998) is being produced as an animated program for New Zealand television.

In 2002, Cowley was awarded the Roberta Long Medal, presented by the University of Alabama at Birmingham for culturally diverse children's literature. In 2004, she was awarded the A. W. Reed Award for Contribution to New Zealand Literature, and in 2010, she won the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement in the Fiction category. She is also a 2016 Astrid Lindgren award nominee. In 2018 she will be awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit and also shortlisted for The Hans Christian Andersen Award. She was also awarded the Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award for her her title Nicketty-Nacketty, Noo-Noo-Noo in 2018. She was awarded the 2018 Order of New Zealand, which recognises outstanding service to the state and people of the country.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Agapanthus Hum, the altogether winning heroine of Cowley's (Mrs. Wishy Washy) spunky chapter book, has an exuberance befitting her name: "she was called Hum because she was such a whizzer, humming and whizzing like a button on a string." Her rushing, twirling and cartwheeling, however, sometimes results in minor accidents and often spells trouble for her eyeglasses, which fall off and get bent and twisted. Though they warn her to be cautious, Agapanthus's parents encourage their daughter's acrobatics and also treat her to a trip to the circus, where Agapanthus is in awe of the trapeze artist ("I am going to do that," she announces). Cowley's tale features playful language, characters that have their quirks yet stay believable, and a fun-to-read pace that is sure to keep beginning readers entertained as well as a bit challenged. Plecas (Rattlebone Rock) plays up the text's sweet-natured humor with her springy-limbed heroine, who indeed looks as if she can barely contain her energy; and with the introduction of a busy little dog, a constant companion that is Agapanthus's equal when it comes to childlike glee. Ages 5-8. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-The text of this beginning chapter book races along just like its main character. Agapanthus Hum is a bundle of energy with " inside her, tunes for running and whirling, tunes for dancing in the wind...." Because she is always "humming and whizzing" and tumbling with acrobatic abandon, accidents often happen and her glasses swing, slip, and drop, and are constantly in need of repair. When her understanding (and comically exaggerated) parents, "good little Mommy" and "good little Daddy," take her to a show, they discover how a real gymnast saves her glasses. Unlike many books for newly independent readers, Cowley's word choices provide readers with interesting images-"tunes that bubbled toothpaste and gurgled lemonade," "her hum puffed out like a birthday candle," "beads went everywhere, like blue hailstones," etc. Plecas's illustrations extend the humor and reinforce the seven-chapter text. There is at least one Agapanthus Hum in every classroom and that child is waiting for this delightful book.-Gale W. Sherman, Pocatello Public Library, ID (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.