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Black (Hey Cowboy, Wanna Get Lucky?, 1994), comic western versifier and former physician to equines, ruminants, and other large domestic animals, rechews his whimsical cud with short pieces originally emanating from the airwaves of NPR. In over 100 little essays, stories, poems, and songs (and a glossary of feedlot lingo), each read in just the time it takes to soft-boil an egg, ol' Bax' stretches his tales tall and spins his poems. The stories recall the likes of Josh Billings and Artemus Ward of yesteryear, and the galloping poetic rhythm hasn't been so securely ridden since the days of the late Robert W. Service. Black hog-ties his rhymes (e.g.: ``fish'' with ``leash,'' ``up front'' with ``elephant'') with a force emblematic of John Wayne. His stuff, as Baxter advises, ``should always be read aloud (or at least move yer lips).'' The dialect is ripe with ``figgered'' and ``knowed'' and sechlike. Enough final ``g''s are dropped to delight any English lord. But what need of syntax and grammar when the book, on the whole, is simply fun, educational for the tenderfoot and redolent for cow people? Some efforts, naturally, work better than others; someone might have introduced Black to the notion of culling. For the most part, though, the seemingly ragtag ramblings are cleverly constructed to tickle fans and bemuse those, not wise to the difference between cow patties and beef patties, who just like the idea of being a cowpoke. Cowboy Black throws the bull, the cow, the stallion, the mare, common barnyard critters, and even the kitchen sink into these pieces with assurance and, generally, to good effect. Just put on yer five-buckle overshoes, watch where you step, and join the fun. (12 line drawings, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-609-60122-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1997

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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