Books by Vivian Sathre

Released: March 9, 1999

paper 0-440-41397-4 Porcine protagonists lend a new twist to an all-too-familiar fairy tale. Poor Ella, a "sweet little pig," is stuck with two mean stepsisters. Because Ella isn't as plump as other pigs, her "steppies" tag her with the name "Slender Ella." With her stepsisters' teasing and all of the housework, Ella never has any fun, until the day the Diamond Snout Hay Ranch hosts a hoedown. Ella, with the help of her Fairy Hogfather, cuts loose and struts her stuff, winning the heart of Harley Joe, "the roundest, fattest pig she'd ever seen" in the process. At midnight she runs off, leaving behind a diamond-studded cowboy boot, before her shiny car turns back into a tractor. Harley Joe tracks Ella down and, as expected, the pair live happily ever after. Lambert's pigs are perfectly endearing, while the folksy, country-western characters and home-spun dialogue add amusing moments and clever detail to this age-old tale. Emerging readers will be delighted by this unpretentious, comic tale. (Fiction. 6-9) Read full book review >
ON GRANDPA'S FARM by Vivian Sathre
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 1997

A quiet paean to the eternal rhythms of country life, from Sathre (Leroy Potts Meets the McCrooks, p. 468, etc.). ``Roosters crow. Grandpa rises.'' So begins a day for a boy on Grandpa's farm, entirely told in such simple constructions- -``Queenie scampers. Shadows stretch.'' The uncomplicated farmhouse and barnyard setting reveal routines of daily life, including gathering eggs from hens, feeding pigs, baling hay. Finally Grandpa calls his grandchild and the two go fishing, catching their supper. No one else is around as the two share a full day. Hunter's people are not as successful as her animals (Possum's Harvest Moon, 1996), but the interiors are laden with homey details—a minnow bucket, wildflowers in a pickle jar— while pleasing landscapes make effective use of the artist's unique cross-hatching technique. Her illustrations charm readers with clear color sense and composition. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
LEROY POTTS MEETS THE MCCROOKS by Vivian Sathre
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 1997

In this Yearling First Choice Chapter Book, Sathre (Three Kind Mice, p. 228, etc.) and Barnes-Murphy (who illustrated Frances Barnes-Murphy's Kings and Queens of Britain, 1996) gather their considerable wit and trot out a tale that will flapdoodle and delight beginning readers. It's a ``yippee-i-o kind of day'' when Leroy Potts, after saving up enough to buy a farm, sets off to ask Miss Hattie Mae Williston—a right good cook, and that's important to Leroy—to marry him. But a freak summer storm interrupts him, sending a double bolt of lightning that, ``quick as biscuits burn,'' takes his memory. And that's the moment that the McCrook brothers, Skete and Barney, show up to invite the confused Leroy to play a game of Rob and Run and point him at a restaurant. Leroy robs the valuables there—knives and forks and ``what's left of that blueberry pie.'' The McCrooks give Leroy another chance to play the game right, directing him this time to a passing train. But Leroy's ``look tough, sound gruff'' approach, plus his growling stomach, don't work any better this time. The McCrooks clarify their objective and send Leroy to the bank, where a knock to the head finally restores Leroy's memory, results in the catching of the McCrooks, and brings Miss Hattie Mae to a breathless ``Oh, yes, Leroy!'' A tall-tale contrivance in a wholly controlled, believable entertainment. (Fiction. 5-8) Read full book review >
THREE KIND MICE by Vivian Sathre
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 1997

These mice are busy, busy, busy. They are baking a cake, generating enough energy to power an electric station. ``Stir fast, stir faster! Batter spatters,'' then ``the mice mix icing. And they skate. They swirl. They glide. The mice collide.'' All this activity takes place on pages on the right, while opposite them a golden-brown cat snoozes, wakes, gets up, stretches, goes to investigate. The mice shoo him off, light candles, compose an invitation for their feline pal—they are kind mice, indeed. Sathre (Mouse Chase, 1995, etc.) doesn't overdo her playful rhymes, but keeps them simple and bouncy: ``A candle falls. One mouse trips. All three mice begin to slip—right off the edge.'' Wilson's colored-pencil illustrations are engaging and busy, but never frantic or without purpose, and he artfully captures the cat's poses. One of the most successful aspects of the book is the luxuriant use of space; the layout employs great fields of white that give the gleeful story room to breathe. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
MOUSE CHASE by Vivian Sathre
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

A real cat-and-mouse chase that races along in quick-stepping action sentences: ``Whiskers twitch./Mouse runs./Cat chases.'' Mouse hops onto a leaf on a gusty day and rides it up and out of Cat's clutches. Landing on a river, Mouse escapes again and Cat misses a final swipe before ``Mouse sails./Cat wails.'' Sathre (J. B. Wigglebottom and the Parade of Pets, 1993, etc.) creates a lively miniadventure with a fanciful quality. Schumaker's first book for young readers harkens back to the simpler illustrative style of early children's books: the palette is limited to five clean, clear hues plus black. The look is refreshingly uncluttered. (Picture book. 2-5) Read full book review >
J.B. WIGGLEBOTTOM AND THE PARADE OF PETS by Vivian Sathre
ANIMALS
Released: April 30, 1993

A first novel about a school-sponsored pet show featuring a runaway rhea (entered by Buddy Zimmer, fifth-grade bully and all- around top dog) and a colony of ants that spells out a message on a honey-baited board (entered by J.B., Buddy's victim, desperate to make up for past humiliations). There's a realistic exploration of J.B.'s alternating feelings of affection and resentment toward his younger sister, but in the central bully/victim relationship J.B.'s reactions to Buddy are unbelievably mild. Descriptive passages are also a frequent problem: the reader is sometimes sidetracked by irrelevant detail; and some scenes are difficult to visualize because descriptions are imprecise. Indifferent b&w illustrations; the attractive color jacket gives away the ending. (Fiction. 7-9) Read full book review >