Books by David Booth

THE DUST BOWL by David Booth
Released: Sept. 1, 1997

Booth (Doctor Knickerbocker and Other Rhymes, 1993, etc.) uses a present-day drought on a Canadian farm as a prompt for a grandfather's gritty reminiscence of the hardscrabble times during the 1930s Dust Bowl. Readers follow along a slow-moving narrative, hearing of dust and dirt everywhere, learning of towels stuffed in the cracks of doors, of children walking to school backwards to keep the wind from stinging their faces, and of clearing the dust from the nostrils of cows. The underlying theme suggests the fortitude and tenacity of overcoming hardship; the story itself comes across as a bit of a sleepy memoir, without a strong thread to connect it to the contemporary farm. The grandfather was a young married man during the ``Big Dry,'' so his perspective naturally remains an adult one. Laced with historical facts that may work best in a social-studies curriculum, the telling lacks emotion, and these male members of three generations don't have any personalities to draw readers in. The grainy, nostalgic illustrations in muted earth tones capture the energy of dust storms: A cloud of hot, sucking wind frightens the horse, knits the brow of the grandmother, and creases the faces of children walking against the wind. (Picture book. 7-10) Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

In an attractive counterpoint to the Opie/Sendak I Saw Esau (1992), Booth offers a broad, large-size collection of schoolyard rhymes grouped by period: ``Out Loud, Right Now!'' (contemporary); ``Mama Said It and I Say It Too'' (the largest, which by rights could include much from the first group); and ``Echoes from Long Ago.'' By their nature, these chants, taunts, and jokes have appeal; Kovalski adds to it with her detailed b&w illustrations of scamps and mischief-makers, combining bits of 19th-century woodcuts with her own lively crosshatched pen drawings and adroitly arranging several rhymes and images on each page with much of the text hand-lettered in cartoon-style balloons or incorporated into the art. Kids will love finding old favorites and picking up some new ones. Indexes by first line and by 12 ``types''—''autograph,'' ``skipping,'' ``superstitions,'' etc. (Folklore/Picture book. 8-11) Read full book review >