Cover image for Trudi & Pia
Trudi & Pia
Hegi, Ursula.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, [2003]

Physical Description:
34 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 21 x 27 cm
A dwarf girl goes to the circus where she meets another dwarf and realizes that she is not alone.
General Note:
"An Anne Schwartz book."
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.0 0.5 68347.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Many nights the dwarf girl, Trudi, fell asleep hoping that her body would stretch itself overnight, that she'd wake up and be the size of other girls her age.Trudi doesn't know anybody like her. No one with short arms that can't reach coat hooks, or short legs that dangle in chairs; no one small enough to look into her eyes. No one, that is, until she meets Pia at the circus. Pia is a lion tamer -- strong and fearless and, most important, a dwarf like Trudi. When Pia asks for a volunteer to step into the ring, Trudi doesn't hesitate. And together, they weave tales of a magical island where people are little and never lonely. After the enchantment ends, Pia shares a secret with Trudi: Feeling that you belong starts with loving yourself.Adapted from Ursula Hegi's best-selling novel Stones from the River -- and perfectly paired with Giselle Potter's poignant illustrations -- this moving story of a girl's search for acceptance captures what it feels like to be different...and then what it feels like to realize that you're not.

Author Notes

Ursula Hegi (born May 23, 1946) spent the first 18 years of her life in post-World War II Germany. When she tried to ask questions about the war, she received only vague answers and heard little about the Holocaust. Hegi immigrated to the United States in 1964.

Now an award-winning novelist, Hegi is best known for her book Stones from the River. Picked by Oprah Winfrey as a selection for Oprah's highly successful book club, the prequel to Hegi's highly-praised Floating In My Mother's Palm traces the path of average Germans during the turbulent wartime years from 1915 to 1952. Narrated by a dwarf who eventually learned that being different is a secret that all humans share, Stones from the River was nominated for a PEN Faulkner Award and received the Governor's Writer's Award.

Also the author of the books Intrusions, Unearned Pleasures and Other Stories, and Salt Dancers, Hegi is the recipient of more than two dozen grants and awards, including an NEA Fellowship and five awards from PEN Syndicated Fiction Awards. She has also written over 100 reviews for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post.

(Bowker Author Biography) Ursula Hegi is the author of eight critically acclaimed books. She lives in New York State.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 1^-3. In this story with a clear theme, the dwarf Trudi gains hope for her future when she meets another little person, Pia, for the first time. She encounters Pia, who is a lion tamer, at the circus. Later, in Pia's trailer, Trudi talks about her loneliness and her dreams and asks to accompany the older Pia on her travels. Pia hesitates, telling Trudi, "If you ever want to ask me questions, send them to the stars. They'll find me." With such an abstract sentiment, more narrative than many picture books, and a slightly abrupt ending, the story feels like the adaptation it is, a version inspired by Hegi's novel for adults, Stones from the River, a 1997 Oprah's Book Club selection. Potter's sparkling gouache illustrations, however, infuse the book with charm, creating a colorful circus setting and an intriguing trailer for Pia, with furniture tailored to her size. In her deliberately awkward, off-kilter renderings of human figures, Potter expresses not only Trudi's feelings about her appearance but also a subtle message about how other people see themselves as well. --Kathleen Odean

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this poignant story, adapted from a scene in Hegi's novel Stones from the River, a dwarf girl meets a woman of a similar size. Trudi often tries to stretch her arms and legs, and she wishes someone "would look at her with joy-not with curiosity." She cannot reach ordinary chairs and coat hooks without standing on a stack of books, and no family members or friends are mentioned or pictured. Trudi feels forsaken until she attends a circus and sees Pia, a diminutive animal tamer in a glittery blue gown: "Her short body moved quickly, lightly, and when her whip snapped around the elephants' massive feet, they bowed their knees for her." When Pia asks for a volunteer, Trudi steps forward. Pia is surprised to see another person like herself, "but then she laughed with delight," giving Trudi the welcome she longs for. While guiding a parrot to fly about them both, Pia prompts Trudi to describe "the magic island I call home. The island of the little people, where everyone is our height." After the show, Trudi summons a new, Pia-esque pluckiness, and visits the performer in her cozy blue trailer, where the furniture is all built to scale. Trudi confides that Pia is the first person she's ever met that's like her, and asks Pia if she has met others in her travels: "I have met one hundred and four, to be exact," Pia replies. Trudi no longer feels alone. Potter's (The Year I Didn't Go to School) folksy gouaches with their ethereal images suit this tale of a propitious encounter. She spotlights Trudi in the circus crowd and aptly captures the heroine's growing confidence. Although Pia's solitary circus career might give people pause (what will Trudi's future be?), Hegi handles the dicey subject of physical difference with great understanding and literary panache. Ages 4-9. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3-Trudi, a dwarf, feels lonely and isolated. She dreams of growing and during the day tries to stretch herself by hanging from door frames and tree limbs. At the circus, she meets Pia, an animal tamer and a dwarf like herself. She volunteers to join her new friend in the ring, and together they tell a story about a wonderful, magical island where only little people live. When Trudi visits the woman in her trailer, Pia talks to her about feeling linked to all the other dwarfs scattered throughout the world, and gives her some practical advice for dealing with the people who surround her. Adapted from Hegi's adult novel Stones from the River (Scribner, 1995), the story is well written and contains some dramatically effective imagery. Hegi creates a great deal of empathy for her characters, marred slightly by the fact that they in turn mock the "big" people: "To Pia, long arms were ugly, long legs unsteady. Tall people looked odd, too far from the ground." It is also unfortunate that the only other dwarf Trudi encounters is a circus performer, reinforcing an old stereotype of where people with non-mainstream physical traits end up. For the most part, however, this sensitive story deals with a subject not frequently found in books for this audience. Potter's signature gouache illustrations have their usual quirky appeal and blend well with the tale.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.