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Elise Primavera

Libby of High Hopes

Scholastic, New York & London, 2012


Libby is told by her teacher she needs to live up to her potential. So, she tries to, but life does not
go as she hopes. “What do you do when everything in life seems unfair? When you want to take
riding lessons and your stupid sister gets them instead – even though it was your idea in the first
place? When you try to Live Up to Your Potential and then get punished for doing it? When your
stupid sister gets riding boots and you’re forced into going on the swim team even though you
stink at swimming?“

Elise Primavera is an author and illustrator. She has illustrated books for many authors, but now concentrates on her own books, with considerable success. Her Auntie Claus has sold over half a million copies, and in 2004 she was asked by the White House to illustrate their Christmas brochure.


As a very young child, her brother taught her to draw a tree, and she was off, drawing on anything she could find, including her clothes. She contracted rheumatic fever, and while she wasn’t allowed to do much, worked through how-to-draw books. Despite all this artistic activity, her main ambition was to become an Olympic rider. She hasn’t done that yet, but still maintains her love for horses. Her first book, Basil and Maggie, was about a girl whose pony, Basil, can’t do anything right, and she has since written Libby of High Hopes, a chapter book about a girl who wants to live up to her potential, and eventually manages it through horses. And a few other things besides.


Finding the books: Libby is still in print; Basil and Maggie is no longer in print, but easy to find second hand.


Links and sources

Elise Primavera’s website

Wikipedia article on Elise Primavera


Bibliography - horse books only

Basil and Maggie

Lippincott, New York, 1983, 31 pp


Maggie is going to a show, but she’s not at all happy about it, as her pony, Basil, can’t
do anything right. She goes ahead and enters the show, and manage to stun and amaze
the crowd, even if it is in ways neither of them imagined.