Twelve folktales from Eastern Europe are introduced:
The best wish (Croatia) -- The most precious gift (Turkey/Croatia) -- The first story (Georgia) -- The tsar's ears (Serbia) -- Strawberries in winter (Slovakia) -- The prince who married a frog (Croatia) -- The three brothers and the pot of gold (Moldavia) -- One man's trouble (Latvia) -- The enchanted princess (Russia) -- The old traveler (Estonia) -- How a rich man learned a lesson (Chechnia) -- Nail soup (Croatia) -- Telling the tales.
Strawberries -- big, ripe, and juicy. Ten-year-old Birdie Boyer can hardly wait to start picking them. But her family has just moved to the Florida backwoods, and they haven't even begun their planting. Making the new farm prosper is not easy. There is heat to suffer through, and droughts, and cold snaps. And, perhaps most worrisome of all for the Boyers, there are rowdy neighbors, just itching to start a feud.
With the questionable help of his friends, Big Brown Rooster manages to bake a strawberry shortcake which would have pleased his great-grandmother, Little Red Hen. Includes a recipe for strawberry shortcake.
"The Grey Lady loves strawberries. But so does the Strawberry Snatcher, and unfortunately for the Grey Lady he is not far away and getting closer all the time. Past flower shops and bakeries he stalks her, silently, steadily, biding his time. He pursues her by foot along haunting red-brick paths, and then by skateboard into the mysterious depths of a swamp both beautiful and terrifying.
"Closer and closer he gets, and yet the Grey Lady escapes him, in fantastic and marvelously improbable ways..."