WHEN AUNT LUCY RODE A MULE

AND OTHER STORIES

Zelda and Stella, the girls regaled with their grandmother's funny recollections of a family trip (When Grandma Almost Fell off the Mountain, not reviewed) now visit Aunt Lucy, whose initial disclaimer (``I don't recall any stories'') proves to be as comically at odds with her subsequent narrative as her mother's was. Pausing only to urge more cake on her enthralled guests, Aunt Lucy describes visiting her grandparents, where the recounted events verge intriguingly on tall tale (Did Grandpa really free a crow from a determined turtle?) and many of the doings are instigated by her own irrepressible aunt, Cissie. The girls' amazed queries propel the narrative; and Porte gives her own audience some painless practice in keeping generations straight. By slipping in a question of fact near the end (Aunt Lucy recalls that her Aunt Cissie and her sister, now Zelda and Stella's grandma, each believed as an adult that the other was stung as a child by bees attracted by her flowered hat), Porte hints slyly that such tales may change with time. Again, Chambliss adds even more gusto to the story with cheerful watercolors on every page. Fast, funny, and pungent. (Young reader/Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-531-06816-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1994

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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BUBBA, THE COWBOY PRINCE

A FRACTURED TEXAS TALE

A Cinderella parody features the off-the-wall, whang-dang Texas hyperbole of Ketteman (The Year of No More Corn, 1993, etc.) and the insouciance of Warhola, who proves himself only too capable of creating a fairy godcow; that she's so appealingly whimsical makes it easy to accept the classic tale's inversions. The protagonist is Bubba, appropriately downtrodden and overworked by his wicked stepdaddy and loathsome brothers Dwayne and Milton, who spend their days bossing him around. The other half of the happy couple is Miz Lurleen, who owns ``the biggest spread west of the Brazos.'' She craves male companionship to help her work the place, ``and it wouldn't hurt if he was cute as a cow's ear, either.'' There are no surprises in this version except in the hilarious way the premise plays itself out and in Warhola's delightful visual surprises. When Lurleen tracks the bootless Bubba down, ``Dwayne and Milton and their wicked daddy threw chicken fits.'' Bubba and babe, hair as big as a Texas sun, ride off to a life of happy ranching, and readers will be proud to have been along for the courtship. (Picture book/folklore. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-590-25506-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1997

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