Bowen (Stranded on Plimoth Plantation 1626
, 1994) makes a brave and not very successful effort to turn some two dozen of Kimble's folk-art livestock portraits into a connected narrative. Seeking commissions, an itinerant 19th-century artist seems to follow an animal thief through a series of Vermont towns. After puzzling over such clues as hearing several animals utter "Ite-osh-urr," and learning that no white animals are stolen, he solves the mystery at a county fair in Castleton, at which the culprit is revealed as a "whitewasher" attempting to put disguised livestock up for auction. The painter collects a reward, allowing him to realize a long-held dream of visiting Africa. Applying thin layers of paint to distressed antique wood, Kimble depicts big, bushy cats, dignified horses, and other creatures in simple, usually rural settings, sliding into whimsy with a proud rooster decked out in red, white, and blue, then closes with a spread of elephants, giraffes, and the like. Children will enjoy the individual pictures, but next to such folk-art showcases as Barbara Ann Porte's Chickens! Chickens!
(1995) and Black Elephant with a Brown Ear (in Alabama)
(1996), this comes off as a rambling, wordy contrivance. (Picture book. 8-10)Read full book review >