Cover image for The English roses
The English roses
Madonna, 1958-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Callaway, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations ; 26 cm
Four best friends are jealous of a neighbor girl and refuse to have anything to do with her, until they each have a dream in which a fairy godmother shows them what the girl's life is really like.
Reading Level:
AD 790 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.3 0.5 75464.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.9 3 Quiz: 40695.
Added Author:
Format :


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

On Order



The English Roses is a story of rivalry and friendship among schoolgirls in contemporary London. Four little girls--Nicole, Amy, Charlotte, and Grace--are eleven years old and the very best of friends. They have sleepovers, picnics and ice-skating parties that exclude Binah, a beautiful girl whose seemingly perfect life makes them "green with envy." However, when a feisty, pumpernickel-loving fairy godmother takes them on a magical journey, they learn to their great surprise that Binah's life is not nearly as enviable as it had seemed. The English Roses is an inspiring story about the importance of compassion and the rewards of friendship.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K-Gr. 2. Why, it seems like only yesterday that Madonna was showing off her jiggly bits in her first publishing effort, Sex0 (1992) . 0 Now she has lowered the age of her target audience to the under-eight set with this first book in a series of five, this one featuring a multicolor quartet of girls who are "practically glued to each other at the hip." A girl they do not like is Binah, who is too pretty and too perfect. Enter Nicole's mother, who in a little speech for which the word didactic 0 was invented, tells them that poor, lonely Binah could use a friend. At a sleepover, the Roses dream the same dream: a fairy godmother takes them to Binah's house, where she must do all the chores, Cinderella-like, because her mother is dead! Would any of the girls want to trade places with her now? Well, no. Awake, the Roses resolve to be kinder, stop complaining, and help Binah with her many chores. In the acknowledgements, Madonna thanks two people for sharing the secrets of storytelling with her. Apparently, they were holding back the part about originality. What is fun are Fulvimari's illustrations, wild squiggly lines brushed with color featuring English Roses who look like the popular Bratz dolls. But the poor illustrator gets neither a thank you nor even a brief bio on the flap copy. The next book in the series, Mr. Peabody's Apples0 , 0 will appear in November. Perhaps it will be about a girl who learns how to share. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

As a singer, she may have pleaded, "Papa, Don't Preach," but as an author Madonna does not heed her own advice, in this debut message-driven picture book about not judging by appearances, the first of five planned titles. "Have you ever heard of the English Roses?" begins the narrator, then ticks off a list of what they are not, followed by "What they are is this:/ Four little girls named/ Nicole, Amy, Charlotte, and Grace." Fulvimari portrays a quartet that could appear on a teen version of Vogue, despite the fact that the blonde, redhead, brunette and caf?-au-lait-complected friends clutch dolls. They sport chic plaid mini-skirts, cardigans, even a short pea coat with a British flag patch pocket. "Here are some things you should know about them," the narrator continues, listing their interests, "Most of all, they love to dance...." In a wordless spread in a pleasingly retro-'60s palette of polka dots, the friends demonstrate various moves (e.g., "techno fox-trot," "hip-hop bus-stop" and a disco pose called "night-fever"). The problem: "They were all a little bit jealous" of classmate Binah. Fulvimari portrays beautiful blonde Binah staring into a fountain in a park where even the trees seem to weep. The story unfolds in fits and starts ("Now, stop interrupting me," says the narrator at several points), but the turning point comes when the four dream the same dream, of a fairy godmother who shows them what Binah's Cinderella-esque life is actually like, and they embrace Binah into their newly formed quintet ("I think we've made a terrible mistake," says Grace). Fulvimari provides the spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-In yet another change of public persona, Madonna turns Mother-Knows-Best moralist with a tale aimed at preteens, though packaged in picture-book format. Responding to an admonition from one of their mothers, and with additional guidance from a fairy godmother, four young fashion plates at a sleepover simultaneously dream that a classmate, ostracized because of her extreme beauty, has to do all the household chores because her mum is dead. When this actually turns out to be true, the four guiltily invite Binah into their circle, and surprise, surprise, soon they're all thick as thieves. An unseen narrator delivers this rough-hewn story in a conversational, "listen to me, I'm telling you this for your own good," tone, breaking in distractingly several times to make sure that readers are paying attention. Reflecting a background in fashion art, Fulvimari places skinny lasses with oversized eyes, dressing and posing as if they've stepped from the pages of a department store catalog, against visually bewildering expanses of scribbled filigree or loudly patterned wallpaper. All in all, this overproduced episode, the first of a projected series, will have to rely on hype rather than content or presentation to find a readership.-John Peters, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.